Shopping Survival
Guide for Men

How a Man Can Survive a Shopping Experience Without Having to Gnaw His Own Arm Off


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

Guys: spent one too many Saturdays marooned at The Mall? Rejuvenate 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.

Don’t get dragged to The Mall without it!

Available exclusively at:


“Shopping Survival Guide for Men” audiobook (read by Johnny Heller)

Johnny Heller has narrated nearly 500 titles for adults, young adults and children.  He is a multi-Audie Award Nominee and Winner. Publishers Weekly named him a Listen Up Award Winner 2008-2104.  Audiofile Magazine named him a Best Voice of 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014 and one of the top voices of the 20th Century.  He is a multiple Earphone Award winner.

Note to Amazon Kindle readers: This book is WhisperSynced, which means that if you own the Kindle version, you can add the audiobook for just $1.99. WhisperSync allows you to listen or read on your devices without losing your place.


Mike Powell for Readers’ Favorite
Starting with a mythical, but very amusing ‘history’ of shopping, Dan Van Oss throws caution to the wind and risks the wrath of women worldwide as he presents his shopping survival guide: Shopping Survival Guide for Men – How a Man Can Survive a Shopping Experience Without Having to Gnaw His Own Arm Off. Written very much from an unreconstructed male point of view, I doubt whether even the most ardent feminist (female OR male) will seriously take offence at some of the age-old stereotypes that Dan presents. Painting men as helpless victims of the female desire to shop, Dan’s book sets up various scenarios and allegedly gives men the tools to survive an experience that they would not really wish upon themselves.
Hopefully any female readers of the book – there are bound to be some who are curious about the title! – will end up laughing too; maybe a few will see a grain of truth in some of the scenes? Others may point out that male vices are just as intense, only different. While Dan talks about women looking through “her 14th sale rack,” women will undoubtedly be able to come up with a dozen equally pointed counter-punches!
But for those men who really, REALLY can’t stand the thought of a shopping trip with their loved one, there is all sorts of practical (devious?) advice. For example: “…always drop off your passengers at the entrance to the store. This will not only score you some most likely much-needed man points, but it also allows extra time for cranking that last part of ‘Separate Ways’ by Journey on the oldies station you can only listen to when no one else is in the car. Roam the lot looking for the best parking spot possible, as this will not only be your last manly act of the day, it will also provide you with more time to not be shopping.”
Dan’s survival guide is a humorous light read – a well-judged length too, ideal for a plane or train journey. Enjoyable, but, for many (hopefully) modern men, either slightly uncomfortable, or (probably more likely) a guilty pleasure!

The Psychology of Shopping (Hint: It’s Crazy)

Some scientists have shown that it is quite natural to see increased brain activity in females when they smell fresh shoe leather, or for dopamine levels to skyrocket at the sight of the words “Extra 30% Off!” These same scientists say this shows that shopping is a normal reaction to post- and pre-cognitive responses concurrent with an a-lateral, psycho-tropic brain, and is a healthy outgrowth of the money-to-happiness-to-shoe ratio necessary to sustain life quality. These same scientists are all women.

You’re Not Fat, You’re Just Three 5’s In A 15 Suit (Understanding Sizes)

Stores, now exploiting women’s egos, compete to adjust their sizes as low as possible in order to make shoppers feel as if they’ve somehow lost 10 pounds between the parking lot and the fitting room. A dress that is a six at Bloomingwhip’s is a four at Minglethorpe’s, which in turn is a two at Stuffington’s down the street. Marilyn Monroe, who was a size 12 in the 60s, would be a size six today. The result of all this is that clothing sizes have become smaller and smaller, down not only to “zero” but “triple zero”; clothing so small that when you put it on you can only exist as a cardboard cutout in the First Dimension. In time, clothing sizes will be described only in negative numbers, as women find themselves shrinking into an inverted alternate universe where only they can see themselves, and still they will think their butts are too big.


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.

Fitting Rooms

IF YOU HAVE BEEN UNABLE to find your way out of your shopping dilemma by now, which, come to think of it, no man ever has, you have possibly been sucked in to the Fitting Room Area, a place where you can actually see time slow down on the wall clocks. If professional baseball players could bat while their wives where trying on 48 different versions of the same sweater in a fitting room next to the batter’s box, they would be able to bat .800, as the laws of physics would slow time to a crawl, and they could not only see the seams on the ball, but be able to look back in time to see at what factory it was made and what each worker had for lunch. It is an unfamiliar fact that Albert Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity while waiting for Mrs. Einstein to try to fit into a girdle two sizes too small at an Unmentionables Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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