From the Crap Archives: 1001 Ways to Be Romantic

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

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1001 Ways To Be Romantic
Author: Gregory J.P Godek
Publisher: Casablanca Press
Date: 1995
Discovered at: Thrift store
The Cover Promises: If you own this, your relationship is failing.
Representative Quotes: "490. Greet him at the door with confetti." "495. Is he a Doctor Who fan? Sign him up to be a member of the Companions of Dr. Who. Write to PO Box 56764, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70156." "377. Wind-up toys! -- Monsters that walk and shoot sparks, creeping bugs, racing cars, crawling babies, lumbering robots, etc!"

The truth hits around entry 640 in this compendium of gimmicky bullshit that couldn't possibly make up for the years of relationship neglect that would inspire a person to buy it. That's when list-maker Gregory J.P Godek stops suggesting you visit the New England Carousel Museum (484) or pretend to be "a researcher working on a new edition of The Joy of Sex and you need her help with your studies" (419) and instead offers honest-to-God useful advice for couples hoping to recall whatever feelings got them into this in the first place:

"Listen for a change. You'll learn a lot about your partner."

Yes, listening, that practical, bond-building technique that is to relationship advice books what eat-less-and-exercise is to diet manuals: the labor-intensive obvious answer the rest of the book gives you excuses to avoid.

Even Godek, who calls himself "America's Romance Coach" right there on the cover, doesn't have much to say about listening. Instead, in just a page or two, he's back to quick-fixes, recommending a bicycle built for two (648), or listening to A Prairie Home Companion (654) or purchasing Leo Buscaglia videotapes (651).

Other Godek suggestions:

 57. "Want some suggestions for notes, gifts, and trinkets to hide? Again, from Romance Class participants: Friendship rings. Earrings. Condoms. Far Side comics. Hockey tickets. Love Coupons."
 381. "The New Yorker is a great source for relationship-oriented cartoons!"
 384: "Tape a comic to the bathroom mirror . . . or to the rear-view mirror in his car. Hide 20 comics all over the house. Insert them in dinner napkins. Stick them in cereal boxes. Attach them to the underside of the toilet seat. Fill his briefcase with them."
 434. "Memorize her favorite poem, or the lyrics to her favorite song. Recite it at private times, or while making love."
 633. "Have your handwriting analyzed!"
 745. "Name your boat after her."
 829. "Make a giant greeting card out of a big cardboard box."
 889. "Write your own version of 'Your Song.'"

This last one is confusing. Wouldn't my own version of "Your Song" be "My Song"? You hope I don't mind/you hope I don't mind/That you put down in words/how wonderful life is while I'm in the world.

Shocking Detail: Our relationship Scheherazade is also fond of "Love Coupons." (He even got a whole other book out of 'em.) His suggestions:

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I would only add one: "I'll Stop Taping Marmadukes to the toilet" coupons.

Highlight: On occasion, your Crap Archivist is asked, "What is the most sure-fire method to quickly determine whether or not a book qualifies as crap?" While I could point to many helpful rules-of-thumb, to date I have relied on only one clinical test of inviolable integrity:

Is the book in question by Tim LaHaye?

Today, I add a second:

Does the book in question contain a blurb from TV funnyman Jay Leno?

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BONUS CRAP!

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Sweater Fashions
Publisher: Coats & Clarks
Date: 1963
Discovered at: Estate sale
The Cover Promises: Nobody's invented sex yet.
Representative Quote: "The attractive diamond pattern is formed by popcorn stitches."

In 1962, heaven was, for white America, just countless hours of knitting away. Here's what had 'em looking sharp while Mississippi burned:

The Laura Bush flack jacket.

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A hot new look for ventriloquists and their dummies!

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Finally, what Big Man on Campus wouldn't feel dreamy in this shawl-collared jacket obviously inspired by sock monkeys?

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