Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners is the exception to the rule

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Gay and Lesbian Manners book coverbook review.

I dislike most “etiquette experts.” These self-appointed, self-important poobahs tend to speak “ex cathedra” – to pontificate condescendingly as if they are superior beings to whom alone has been given the revealed truth of which fork to use for the fish course and how to dress for weddings and funerals. I often disagree with them and am always irritated by them. Steven Petrow however, is the exception to the rule in Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.

When this book arrived at our office for review, I was tempted to throw it away unopened. I am very glad I did not. Petrow has produced a volume of substantial size that is far more than a guide to correct table settings and wedding invitations. In a very real way it is a guide to life. Such basics of gay life as coming out are dealt with in real depth, with helpful, fact-based, carefully structured advice that is among the very best treatments of this subject I have yet seen. The endless complexities of sex are discussed plainly, positively and with all the information one needs to know – especially one who is just starting out in the gay world. The many forms of dating as well as the practical and emotional issues of building a life together with your true love are all covered. Starting a family, out on the job, estate planning (wills and testaments) – its all in this book. Even activism and civil disobedience is discussed. And yes, the book also covers wedding invitations and even how to set the table with the correct arrangement of knives, forks, spoons and the right glasses for various wines.

This book is a superb gift for a young person – a teenager struggling with coming out. I cannot emphasize that aspect strongly enough. It is quite literally the best guide to the process of coming out with maximum happiness and minimum drama I have ever read. It will help him or her through that most difficult passage and serve as a valuable reference for many years to come. It is also an excellent gift for the couple about to marry. In fact, there is hardly an LGBT person of any age or situation that would not benefit from a copy of Petrow’s well-written and engaging book. I recommend it with enthusiasm.

ISBN 978-0-7611-5670-3 (paper) Workman Publishing www.workman.com.

Gay and Lesbian Manners book coverbook review.

I dislike most “etiquette experts.” These self-appointed, self-important poobahs tend to speak “ex cathedra” – to pontificate condescendingly as if they are superior beings to whom alone has been given the revealed truth of which fork to use for the fish course and how to dress for weddings and funerals. I often disagree with them and am always irritated by them. Steven Petrow however, is the exception to the rule in Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.