RBD: Book Review – Shopping Survival Guide for Men, Part 1

Shopping Survival Guide for Men
Dan Van Oss
Comedy - Humorous
Dan Van Oss, via Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
March 2, 2015
127 pages



DVO 1.

Shopping Survival
Guide for Men

Dan Van Oss

A frank and hilarious guide to every man’s mind-numbing nemesis: XXXXXXXXXShopping.

Guys: spent one too many Saturdays marooned at The Mall? Salvage your manhood with the Shopping Survival Guide for Men. This indispensable sanity-saver exposes the hidden history and insidious psychology of shopping (Hint: it’s crazy), plus cool-headedly guides you through the treacherous, credit card-melting mazes of:

• Shoes: “If you’ve ever been in the shoe section of any major department store, you now know what the gross national product of Belgium would look like if it consisted of footwear, which, for all I know about Belgium, it does.”
• Makeup: “Egyptians used cochineal bugs to make red dye for their lips, and I don’t even care what ‘cochineal’ means because the word ‘bugs’ is after it.”
• Prom Dress Shopping: “Like most men, all you know about prom dresses is that they are more expensive than a good set of tires.”
• Fashion Terminology: “Puckered Bodice: A banned professional wrestling move involving a lemon, a folding chair, and a car battery.”
• Shopping History: “1687: Isaac Newton develops the law of universal gravity after his wife’s shoe rack collapses on him.”

Melding together the whimsical wit of Douglas Adams, the laugh-out-loud narratives of Dave Barry, and the pop-culture cleverness of James Lileks, Dan Van Oss crafts a fresh and funny guide for any man who’s ever been trapped in the Seventh Circle of Dillard’s.

Comical bonus quizzes (“Shoe Brand, Kentucky Derby Horse or Hipster Band Name?”) help you pass the time until you’re asked to haul the bags out to the minivan.

Don’t get dragged to The Mall without it!


Review – “Shopping Survival Guide for Men” written by Dan Van Oss

In a word, hysterical.

I chuckled and outright laughed my way through this book, and even read selected passages aloud to my husband – who, lucky for me, doesn’t mind shopping at all.

While not a ‘survival’ guide as you might get from Homeland Security or The Sierra Club, it does poke some serious fun at the ‘art’ of shopping, covering everything from getting roped into going shopping, to navigating the various sections of a department store including terms to remember, to the trip back home … plus returns and more shopping. The author offers specifics for each section (with special attention to the shoe department), and even provides quizzes to make sure you’re learning what you need to know (answers provided).

It’s humorous – well, OK … it’s downright funny – with abundant use of double-meaning words, and even made-up words. It made me think of Norm Crosby (the ‘Master of Malaprop’), the stand-up comedian whose fractured English conversations who entertained us for many years.

If you have friends or family where the husband would do almost anything to get out of going shopping, but gets dragged along anyway (to carry the bags and ‘watch the purse’, among other things), this would make an excellent fun gift – both the husband and wife will see shopping in a whole different light.

I enjoyed this ‘change of pace’ book, but found that the very reason it’s so funny and entertaining is the reason why I’m only giving the book 4-stars – The misuse and fracturing of the English language makes it sometimes difficult to read.

By Dayna Leigh Cheser
Author, Janelle’s Time, Moria’s Time, and Adelle’s Time



THE HANDBAG SECTION is an area of your average department store that, if designed by men, would consist of a single, medium-sized cloth sack with a drawstring on it, hanging from a stick, suitable for carrying any number of objects, but, of course, with an almost criminal lack of style. Like shoes, there are about as many handbag styles as there are overly emotionalized reality TV shows, and with less apparent purpose to the male eye. You can choose from Totes, Satchels, Saddle Bags, Backpacks, Hobo Bags, Shoulder Bags, Clutches and Evening Bags; Wallets, Travel Bags, and Diaper Bags, not to mention Doctor’s, Drawstring, Half-moon, Messenger, Evening, Flat, Trapezoid, Baguette, Bucket, and Bowling Ball bags. Some bags even have bags of their own, like a kangaroo mother’s pouch and her baby; these are bags that fit inside larger bags, with pocket books inside of those, and wallets inside of those – quite possibly on down to the atomic level, where scientists someday hope to successfully insert a Gucci electron into a Versace molecule without blowing up Bloomingdales.

But, as with shoes, each of these bags (so we’re told) provides an important function indecipherable to males, who could successfully use a Walmart plastic bag for everything from carrying their lunch to their grandmother’s ashes and not think anything of it. These functions include, but are not limited to, carrying everything in the known universe. A woman’s handbag is like a magician’s hat; curious things appear out of it that make you wonder, such as:

• A program from the spring vocal concert of your 1st grader (now in college)
• 23 kinds of stuff you put on your lips
• A coupon for 5% off knee waxing (expired in 2003)
• 14 kinds of gum
• Approximately 12,468 receipts
• Small pets
• More bags (see above)

Read a Free Chapter from this book.
Purchase: Amazon


Author BioDVO 2

Dan Van Oss grew up reading just about everything he could borrow from the town library, although admittedly sometimes just to get the sticker segments so he could complete the Reading Centipede for each book he finished. He’s a Midwest guy, having spent time in Michigan and Kentucky, but mostly Iowa, where he now lives. He started writing during college, where he enjoyed getting red lines drawn through his Creative Writing projects, and where he also penned a weekly column in the school paper under the pseudonym “Fletcher Ford”. He’s currently working on his Survival Guide for Men series, which will include books on Home Improvement and Sports. You can catch his weekly humor column called the Dubious Knowledge Institute at his author site, danvanoss.com.


Contact Information

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Happy Writing,



Logan’s Time’ – Summer, 2015
Clarissa’s Time’ – Early 2016
Janelle’s Time’ (Second Edition) – Summer, 2017 (if not sooner)

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