Excerpt: The Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend

While fans may be used to seeing Felicity Huffman act "desperate" as she plays the character Lynette Scavo, she recently teamed with movie producer Patricia Wolff to write a guide for guys who want to become good boyfriends (and the women who want to transform them). The following is an excerpt of "A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend: for Every Guy Who Wants to Be One, for Every Girl Who Wants to Build One."

We take pleasure in presenting to you, the men of America, this first edition of "A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend." Whether you're a good guy or a bad boy, single or attached, you will find this an indispensable guide to your girlfriend or girlfriend-to-be. You'll also find it an essential collection of ideas, information and assorted survival skills that will surely come in handy.

Think of this as your AAA guide to love, a decoder ring, a relationship road map, and your very own GPS -- Girlfriend Positioning System. We'll steer you toward the right turns and help you avoid the wrong ones so that you don't ever have to change a flat in A Town Called Lame, population one. In addition to offering interesting recipes for the holidays (OK, not really), this book will give tasty tips on the following:

How to apologize without really apologizing

How to look like you're listening while you're thinking about other things (maintain eye contact at all times, but if busted, repeat the phrase "You're so pretty, I'm distracted")

How to tell if her "no" means "yes," or her "yes" means "no"

How to avoid long phone conversations

How to survive her driving

How to buy the last-minute present

How to charm the pants off of her (literally)

How to avoid talking about your "feelings"

How to pretend you have "feelings"

How to pretend you're deep

How to talk dirty (a beginner's guide)

How to convince her farting in bed is a sign of your commitment

How to have sex without intimacy (oops, forgot who we were talking to; never mind).

You may think that you're the first guy to try to understand women and come up empty-handed, but you're not. Men have been scratching their heads about the fairer sex since the beginning of time.

Think of the first boyfriend, Adam. You think he wasn't baffled by his girlfriend? You bet he was. Now, there's a guy who could have used this book. You may not think he needed it -- after all, he was alone in paradise, had some snacks, and Eve was already naked. But we beg to differ.

Their problems weren't over money, getting out of dinner with her parents, or his addiction to online poker. No, their issues revolved around a small piece of red fruit. God said, "Don't eat it." Eve said, "If you love me you'll bite." The poor guy had God on one side and Eve on the other; talk about a rock and a hard place. Adam tried to reason with his girl, warning her of the dangers of breaking the one rule God had made, but she wouldn't listen. From her point of view it wasn't about the apple or God (she wasn't hungry and had never even met the Big Guy in the sky), it was about whether her boyfriend took her seriously and understood her feelings. Sound familiar? In her mind, Adam was trying to control her … again. Talk about a power trip. Who died and left him in charge? There he was telling her what to eat, what not to eat, and by the way, was this "don't eat the apple" thing his way of letting her know he thought she was fat? Great.

But maybe Adam was just a regular guy, trying to toe the line with The Man and trying to keep his girlfriend happy. It couldn't have been easy. We girlfriends can be a lot to handle. We demand intimacy. We ask a lot of questions: "What are you thinking about?" "Do you love me?" "How come we never talk?" And the transitions are murder. One minute we're lying around happy and naked (think Eve), and the next minute we're dressed to kill, goose-stepping all over your heart (think Eva Braun).

Or maybe what happened that day was just a moment of profound miscommunication:

"I thought you said take a bite!"

"No, I said let's not fight!"

And afterward they found themselves thrown out of paradise and faced with having to find a new place to live (and in terms of stress levels, moving is second only to death in how it can affect a couple).

Biblical scholars have offered various interpretations of the story of Adam and Eve, but we'll never know what really happened. Still we are certain of one thing: Men and women will never see, hear, or feel things in just the same way. That was as true in the Garden of Eden as it is in the Garden State of New Jersey or anywhere else on God's Green Earth.

So what's a guy to do? Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer. We can't teach you what to expect from your GF because she will never be the same from one day to the next, or even from one moment to the next. Being with a woman can be like living in a time machine where you are zapped every few hours into another female mood without warning. We can't change that, but we can help demystify some of your girlfriend's behavior so that when the woman you love transports you once again to a galaxy far, far away, you'll have the skills you need to quickly orient yourself and deftly master the situation. Our job is to make sure you are prepared.

* * *

Now, you may not be interested in being a boyfriend, and that's fine. But there may come a day when you want to be thought of as Mr. Right, and not Mr. Right Now. When you do, you'll want this book in your back pocket, right next to your wallet and that ribbed-for-pleasure condom. Read it from cover to cover or jump to the chapter you need. Become an expert in a couple of hours. Or just look like one.

Copyright 2007 Velocity, Ltd and Patricia Wolff. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion.