Clarissa Cruz
August 13, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Standup Guy: Masculinity That Works

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

Two new books offer fresh fodder for the ongoing conversation between the sexes: Standup Guy, a fascinating, remarkably touching study of male behavior, has former Esquire columnist Segell stewing over everything from fetishes (”Oxytocin … produces feelings of attachment — to a mate, a baby … or a bug-crushing Joan and David snakeskin pump”) to the rigidity of contemporary dating, gamely attending Promise Keepers rallies and male-bonding seminars along the way. A bit more clinical in tone — but no less engrossing — is Vida’s Girls on the Verge. Immersing herself in the ceremonies that encompass feminine rites of passage, Vida participates in a sorority rush, crashes a deb ball, and interviews teenage brides in Nevada. Though not as graceful a writer as Segell, Vida does render some choice observations (on debutante dips: ”When done incorrectly, she looks as though drunk and on the verge of passing out, doing a nose-dive into a fraternity brother’s unmade bed”).
Standup Guy: B+
Girls on the Verge: B

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