The comic strip guide to relationships

This is just part of EDGE’s Valentines Day Guide. See below for links to the rest of the V-day special.

As Valentine’s Day draws near, one thing is increasingly on the minds of couples and singles alike: members of the opposite sex, and how tough it is to deal with them. Justin Borus and Andrew Feinstein, creators of the nationally-syndicated comic strip “Girls & Sports,” have attempted to gather all their thoughts and knowledge on the subject and compile it into their first book, “Opening Lines, Pinky Probes, and L-Bombs,” a humorous, light-hearted, yet sobering-honest take on the dating scene, as narrated by the comic strip characters.

The romantic exploits Bradley (the jock), JoAnn (his girlfriend), Marshall (the unsuccessfully “nice” guy), Harris (the creepily crafty sidekick) and the “Dream Girl” are not only hilarious, but charming and real as well.

The book is written as a dating manual, and covers every step of the game, which is even alluded to in the title: “Opening Lines, Pinky Probes, and L-Bombs” refer to the key icebreakers in introducing yourself, hooking up and serious relationships, respectively. Unlike other manuals, however, this one is very vivid and colorful-it’s dotted with comic strips, and the book features elaborate spreads with the characters dropping assorted pearls of wisdom. Also, Borus and Feinstein don’t pretend to be experts; they’re relating practical experience, in a very easygoing, always funny manner.

However, considering many themes overlap at different stages and chapters in the book, and are reflected in the comics, the book can get overly repetitive in some parts. Although the subject is ripe in terms of comedic material, at times, it seems the authors drag on a single theme or repeat a gag too much, when there are many other aspects that could be explored instead.

And of course, it’s very important to remember this book was written from a male perspective. Borus and Feinstein are, obviously, both guys, and have designed the playbook as a reference for guys. One of the big staples of the comic strip, and consequently, the book, is sports references, which guys will be more receptive to. For example, in one instance, Marshall asks a girl (quite unsuccessfully) to come home with him right as she’s about to give him his number. After getting rejected, Bradley asks what went wrong, to which Marshall responds “I went for the two-point conversion when I should have settled for the field goal.”

Sports references aside, female readers may not be able to relate as much to what the book is trying to convey, which is a very male experience. Nevertheless, if a girl does read with an open mind, or a recognition of the brutal absurdity of the dating game, she will get a kick out of it.

In the end, “Opening Lines, Pinky Probes and L-Bombs” is a very entertaining look at social dynamics at this day at our age. While certainly not a monolithic guide to success in the dating realm, it provides a good opportunity to laugh at ourselves and this very ridiculous, yet at the same time very fun, game we play every day of our lives.

Jay Rooney can be contacted at

EDGE Valentine’s Day Guide:

Four ways to say ‘I love you’

Have a little food for thought with these sexy ingrediants

More food that will help set the mood

Student’s business has perfect gift

The comic strip guide to relationships