As a devoted fan of the Worst-Case Scenario book series, I was elated to spot the survival handbook for Dating and Sex. Having trusted the authors, Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht, to help me communicate to border officials, “Please accept this wine as a token of my appreciation” in six different languages, I knew this duo would provide invaluable assistance in negotiating the most dangerous situation of them all: romance.

The phenomenal success of the “Worst-Case” series derives from the books” entertaining balance of gravity and mockery. Piven and Borgenicht acknowledge long lists of reputable experts in every area for which they proffer advice from escaping quicksand to leaping from trains. For this endeavor on dating issues, they recruited a female consultant to co-author Ms. Jennifer Woricka, confessed serial dater of religious cultists and Tears for Fears fanatics. The woman”s touch is evident in the section on how to unclasp a bra, advice few men could possibly give.

Loud guffaws inevitably follow from a reading of the “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex,” because the incredibly practical and thoughtful advice addresses the most ludicrous of situations. For example, the authors very plainly outline the necessary steps to determine the gender of your date. Specifically, you should look for an Adam”s apple, suspect baggy clothing, and watch how the date ascends stairs (Do the hips wiggle? Women tend to sway, due to the position of their pelvises). What a valuable lesson in human physiology!

Other chapters address more mundane, yet crucial issues. Perhaps you attended a wild party on New Year”s Eve and awakened the next year in an unfamiliar apartment with an absolute stranger. With the handbook, you can choose from a bevy of viable responses to this potentially devastating scenario.

You could apply the principles in Chapter One on “How to Escape a Bad Date,” such as faking an emergency or slipping out the bathroom window (pictures demonstrate the least harmful way to break a variety of common windows). Or flip to “How to Survive If You Wake Up Next to Someone Whose Name You Don”t Remember” where you can find tricks on perusing medicine cabinets for prescription labels, “comparing” drivers” licenses, and calling your unknown partner “dear,” “honey,” and “babe.”

Other chapters advise readers on how to gently correct a bad kisser, how to silence a snorer (this section alone merits the book purchase), how to remove difficult clothing, including cowboy boots quickly and nimbly, and how to have sex in small spaces, such as elevators and airplane restrooms.

Although auditioning for the “Mile High Club” technically breaks the law, the hypothetical discussion of such action cannot be censored and proves almost as much fun as the action itself. Almost.

Convenient appendices provide the skeleton of a “Dear John” letter (blank spaces are provided for the name of your ex-beloved) and list excuses that can be employed effectively: “I asked you first,” “It won”t stain,” and “I can”t bend over that far.”

For some readers, the “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex,” should be the only book on the shelf, available for ready consultation. For others, who have “mastered” the dating scene, the handbook can be a consistent source of amusement and hilarity. And to the rest of us, those alternately scared and fascinated by the challenges of dating, the intriguing handbook becomes a bible, a joke, and occasionally a grim reminder of battles fought and lost.

As a parting word, I warn potential readers of the “Dating & Sex” installment of the Worst-Case series If you currently enjoy your relationship and/or sex life, be aware that the book does provide “how to” advice on hiding an affair, faking orgasms, and breaking up. Thus, a purchase of this book, which I heartily recommend, should be explained as solely for entertainment purposes.

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