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UPSETTING DAY

Upsetting Day: 1,001 Ways NOT To Be Romantic

As fans of the site know, in 1991, a talentless hack named Gregory Godek published 1001 Ways To Be Romantic. It was a poorly edited list of song titles and saccharine cliches useless to anyone except prison guards trying to de-escalate active sex crimes. But it was also a huge hit, so two years later, a less talented hack named Joe Magadatz published his “comedic” take on it: 1001 Ways NOT To Be Romantic. In several minutes, you will fucking hate Joe Magadatz. He is a bottle of novelty Fart Pills who wished to be real on a magic bottle of novelty Fart Pills.

The book claims to be “For Real Men” and “Frustrated Women” and “Couch Potatoes.” Wait, ha ha, did he say Couch Potatoes!? He went there immediately! If the inside of the book is anything like the cover, nobody is safe from the zings of Joe Magadatz who an unattributed quote calls “the Al Bundy of romance– the Homer Simpson of love.” And for a total fabrication, it’s pretty honest. The author absolutely has the sense of humor of a popular sitcom viewer with ordinary interests who strongly identifies with everyman characters. He might be closer to the “Andrew Dice Clay Album Owner of romance– the Bottle of Novelty Fart Pills Joke From Earlier of love,” but the point is he’s what any wacky dad joke enthusiast would call banal and contemptuous.

The back cover has five more unattributed quotes taken from rave book reviews Joe never went on to receive, and there was still some space left so Joe listed some chapter titles. They’re descriptive of nothing other than Joe Magadatz’s pedestrian zaniness. They’re from a production designer’s list of “MICHAEL SCOTT MUG IDEAS — MAYBES.”

This motherfucker named titles in his book “Excuuuuuuuuuuse Me!” and “Go Ahead, Make My Day!” and “Beam Me Up, Scotty” and was proud enough he put them on the back cover without context. He also has chapters called “Burp!” and “Going Bonkers” and “Hooters!” and “Aaaaauuuugh!” because once a writer realizes they’re satisfied with unaltered catchphrases from Saturday Night Live being complete jokes, they are free to simply type random words and sounds, schwing(!) queef ambulance.

Anyway, ugggggggggghhhhh, let’s get started with this bullshit.

Joe opens the book with a very indulgent About the Author section chronicling his adventures in leading an uninteresting life and never learning how to construct a joke. Which is a nightmare since he set out to write a 178 page “NOT!” joke and thinks “parody” means “sincere attempt at recreating the exact same thing but for less pleasant people.”

Joe is governed by one rule: if it has ever been on TV, saying the name of it is humor. In some ways this is a great parody of 1001 Ways To Be Romantic because it’s a panicked author, probably with a weird dick, but definitely out of ideas with 973 entries to go. And like Godek, once Joe has found a structure with modular parts, he will keep adding songs and TV shows until he has strangled all the joy out of it. He will set a joke in a world where “celebrating 7 Days of Superbowl Week” is a thing just to get one more precious step closer to finishing the thing he obviously hates. That’s what comedy is supposed to be, right? A cranky person grinding their teeth through a huge project any idiot could have known would be a nightmare? Anyway, I have several hundred more entries from 1001 Ways NOT To Be Romantic to get to.

Every now and then the book achieves its stated goal through open cruelty or passive aggression. If you think calling your wife fat and decorating your kitchen with pornography are, all by themselves, a complete punchline and set up to a joke, the word for that isn’t “Unromantic.” This is more like the answer to the question, “Ma’am, were there any warning signs leading up to your husband stabbing you?”

This was meant to be a hilarious skewering of a romance guide, but here we are reading a transcription of Jeff Foxworthy’s audio notes. “Note to self: something about The Three Stooges? Come on, Jeff– think.”

This dipshit gave himself the task of listing four cute differences between men and women and this is what he came up with. This is nothing. It’s not possible to say less about men and women than this. Of all the things women don’t do, the funniest ones he could think of were “read on the toilet” and “Air Guitar?” What about celebrating Superbowl Monday? What about celebrating Superbowl Thursday? What about stabbing your wife!?

I’m not actually sure where Joe was going with this. I only wanted to point out he’s wrong about comedy, but also everything. This would be a lazy entry in a book called Dumb, Pointless Things To Say About Drinks. In a book meant to hilariously skewer romantic advice it’s possibly the worst thing he could have written. There’s no whimsy or edge or truth. It’s less than not a joke– if a child found this on a candy wrapper, they’d assume they won some kind of Laffy Taffy Find-The-Jokeless-Wrapper Sweepstakes. Joe isn’t 10% done with his book and he’s already landed on the perfect closing argument for why he is incapable of writing it. He has utterly failed at a task with the lowest of expectations. This line is like an oil technician looking at your car and saying, “I’m going to fuck that big red bird with my ponis.”

From his chapter BURP!, Joe writes “Onion bagels.” as a complete thought. “So true,” thinks a hypothetical reader. “I can’t wait to see what he does for number 126. Oh my God, can you imagine?”

The other thing about Joe is that he’s a pedant. A lot of the book is spent attacking romantic cliches with the smug logic of a FOX News guest explaining how it’s actually the races who are the actual racists. Look at Joe fucking dismember champagne with the weapons of Aristotle. You ladies don’t like burping but you like champagne? Well, ha, let Joe tell you girls something you never knew about bubbles. Oh, and you say want men to help with the cleaning? Then explain why you get so mad at us when we sneak into your home and lick your bathtub spotless, so spotless. Check, um, mate.

Joe Magadatz looked at what he had done and thought, “One hundred forty nine jokes about relationships! That’s got to be a record for an oil technician’s lunch break!”

He began his ritual of dry masturbation on the break room toilet before returning to work when a 150th idea for a relationship joke occurred to him. Desperate to capture fleeting inspiration, he rushed back to his notebook and scribbled down his idea before it was lost to the workday bustle of fucking all those big red birds with his ponis. “Could it be this simple?” Joe said aloud. “Have I cracked the start of my next chapter!?”

The words seemed to glow on the page like a lost treasure. There it was. The perfect joke. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

If you were wondering how long it would take for Joe to bring up the holocaust and start telling racist jokes: 153 entries. Although it’s hard to call these racist “jokes.” They’re more like racist references. And even that’s not quite right since these aren’t traditional stereotypes. For instance, the intolerant don’t list their grievances with Latinos as “33% of them are bankers.” What Joe is doing here isn’t being racist– it’s suggesting the notion of racism itself is enough to be funny. Like how Eskimos.

“I mean, where’s the challenge in being romantic to a life-sized blow-up Barbie doll?”

– Joe Magadatz, 1993

I wanted to show you this one so you could see Joe’s remarkable decision, in a satire book, to include plugs for real sex devices. Any other writer would have made up a silly, outrageous romantic product, but Joe has chosen to say “Get a load of this wacky thing! Can you believe anyone would pork an inflatable woman? I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t ever! Anyway, here’s how you order one; the ‘Tina’ model has a waterproof milk reservoir in the butt! Don’t trust Tina’s idea of ‘waterproof’!”

Um, and guys, here’s a tip from ol’ Pedantic Joe: if your woman says she wants to be treated like an Equal, ask her if she really wants you to tear off her head and pour her into your coffee. You see, “equal” shares a name with a zero calorie sweetener, and I kill women.

I get we’re only having big laughs here, Joe, but let’s go over the premise. I need a woman who has dated me long enough to have a least favorite tie, but not long enough to introduce me to her parents, for whom she is planning a romantic evening which involves me. And I ruin it by smuggling in an unlikeable necktie. These are the unlikely circumstances that have to come together for this to be anything other than a stupid fuck stringing together random letters, Joe.

I have no notes for these three. Great stuff, Joe. I bet when Joe Magadatz sees a sheet of “I HATE MONDAYS” stickers he genuinely says out loud, “Oh no they gave this to the wrong guy! Ha ha ha, oh man. OH NO.”

Another wacky foible of this kidnapper-vibe scamp is that he seems to think Gregory Godek, author of 1001 Ways to Be Romantic, is some kind of high class sophisticate. Gregory J.P. Godek is the man who gives his wife a “Good for one free pizza, any toppings!” coupon every anniversary. He’s the man who gives his wife a “Good for one small pizza of YOUR choice (because you’va gotta pizza ov’a my heart)” coupon every birthday. He’s fucking trash. But to Joe, Godek is the fanciest of pants. I say all this because it will help you to understand Joe better if you realize he thinks parody means sneering at rich boy shit like “adult” dates who “tolerate sex” and eat at restaurants with silverware instead of “chili gloves.”

Here’s the thing: I’m both a leading genius and the only person who will ever read this book in its entirety, and I have no idea if Joe means “personal computer” or “political correctness,” or why he thinks “Partly Cloudy” is some kind of punchline. This entry, more than any others, is a genuine mystery. Was entry number 403 (buy a pool table) such a struggle his mind gave out? If this was published to give encoded commands to “Unromantics” embedded in our book stores, that would actually explain a lot. I admit I’m making a lot of wild speculations about who Joe is and why he wrote 1001 Ways NOT To Be Romantic, but it’s only because the simplest explanation -a man tried to be funny and missed by this goddamn much- seems too impossible to consider.

You might remember this one from earlier. Joe often returns to the rich comedy well of “You aren’t as pretty as the women I masturbate to, you bitch. You fat bitch.”

You have to consider how when Joe was writing this book, People Magazine gave the title of SEXIEST MAN ALIVE to Nick Nolte (left below). This had to have given average-looking men more unearned confidence than normal, which might explain why Joe feels comfortable implying how fat his wife is so soon after telling his fat wife she’s fat.

Okay, sure, this entry is basically the same as the last two, which are all the same as several others from earlier in the book, but Joe has added a bit of Fat Wife Science to explain how calling your wife fat in mid-February is more hurtful than, say, late-June. It’s still not funny, but all great comedians have to go through a phase where they humorlessly abuse women for a couple decades. I believe it was Mark Twain who once said, “The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” while giving a thumbs up and then, “Your sad tits, my dear,” while giving a thumbs down.

“I’m barely halfway through this piece of shit book and I’m already so out of ideas I’m listing novelty gifts from novelty gift catalogs,” thinks Joe in a rare moment of self awareness. “Oh, did I do fart pills yet? Let’s see… what else is funny. Beavis and Butt-Head? Okay, but, like, how do I make it work for this book? Let’s see… oh. Oh my god, Joe. Joe you’ve done it again!”

Joe called his publisher and got the answering machine. He screamed, “Fuck you, Geraldine! Fuck. You. You told me you were going to need the advance back if I didn’t get you the 521st and 522nd entry by today? Well, fuck you, I crushed them. A mistletoe belt from a catalog I found, and listen to this, you cow: 522. Not romantic: Beavis and Butt-Head. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. You’re welcome. I’m keeping the money, Geraldine.”

He hung up, missing wildly and smashing his gross, weird dick. “Bitches!” he blamed.

This is not a gag, but a true story. Earlier in this very article I had a line where I said, “Call Joe whatever you want, but don’t call him… late for dinner!” It’s my standard placeholder for “character makes a dad joke to be determined later,” and then I saw he actually, sincerely wrote it. I know he’s probably still going through his Funny Side Up catalog from 75 entries ago and stealing more ideas, but however he came to be this thing he is, no God or science will ever create a more perfectly terrible sense of humor. Joe Magadatz is a world-class decathlete of funereal zaniness. He is a worst-case-scenario of a person reading bumper stickers out loud in a souvenir shop.

Once he got into the 600s, Joe went all-in on the premise of romance being for uppity snobs and unromance being for the workin’ man. And even that gets shaky. He is a weird, lonely man declaring cultural divides and assigning two groups of people who don’t exist to one side or the other without comedic observation. This book is the gasps of a drowning mind who saw a bottle of fart pills and thought, “This is exactly me! Why didn’t I think of this?” and then fucking found out. Imagine the existential terror Joe must be feeling at this point. Going into this, he was certain he was a “funny guy,” and now reality had proven how wrong he was, 604 times in a row and counting.

“Why won’t the ideas come? Where is my fart pills?” he whispered to his bathroom mirror. “Unromantics prefer steak to swordfish,” his reflection hissed back. “Go type it, you piece of shit. Go tell your readers Unromantics prefer steak to swordfish.”

Joe is so bad at joking, fucking, and writing, this book should have been a tear-soaked polaroid of his penis that says, “Go ahead and let it ruin your day, you fat, frigid bitch. It’s all it ever does. It’s all it will ever do!!! You want swordfish, but I don’t even have steeeaaaak!”

What the shit? This man spent two hundred entries explainin’ how real Unromantics like a little tractor grease on their ‘taters, and now he makes a sudden reference to Cubism and Giacometti? This is not a tone change. This is like stopping a wedding toast to pull off your face and shriek, “Your Trevor has been harvested, Emily and David beasts! Behold our true form!” Unromantics prefer Giacometti? How the, what? I don’t even know what is happening; I guess this one’s for the museum curators who love MADLibs but hate love? But the joke doesn’t work on them either. Does Joe think Alberto Giacometti took so much effort to vitalize the negative space surrounding his figure sculptures to not make passionate love within it!? Ridiculous.

I’m not sure if I’ve made it clear yet, what with all my comedy romping, but of all the troubling things in this book, the most troubling is how Joe Magadatz seems to think it’s the sex part of a relationship that’s particularly unromantic. I’m not saying I have enough to convict Joe of any sex crimes, but it’s suspicious how he finds the idea of any woman enjoying sex to be unthinkably absurd.

If you’re anything like me, you might have thought, “huh?” But assuming this isn’t another coded message for when the Unromantics are supposed to strike, April 15th is the day Lincoln died and the Titanic sank. It’s also the birthday of some other major tragedies– the Boston Marathon, America’s bombing of Libya, and the publishing of The Fountainhead. So, sure, Joe. If you have any of these dates memorized for some reason, you’re right. And as any comedy-head knows, being right about the date many people died is a sure laugh every time. December 8th! Wait, no, the 7th. Sorry I fucked up the joke.

With only 24 entries to go, Joe picked back up his Funny Side Up catalog, selected a random item and literally only contributed the words “Need I say more?” This is like the slowest NASCAR driver stopping after 196 laps to have sex with his sister. You could never have predicted such a total and insane failure, but you guess it sort of makes sense after it happens?

Let Joe make it very clear: he did not buy Sexual Positions: A Sensual Guide to Lovemaking at the, hey look at that, affordable price of $24.95 to share with a lover. Joe is too impish to type the word “tits,” but he absolutely wants you to know he jerked off to this video by himself. Remember 980 entries ago when you thought this would be a lifeless parody of the self-help/romance genre? Well it turned out to be one man’s war on women, and like all men who wage that war, it ended with him giving up, angrily pulling on his own dick to pictures of them, and vowing revenge. How hard would it have been to just do some silly or outrageous versions of those free pizza and backrub coupons?

Oh, he did. And they fucking suck too.

Edit: 11:30am 11/20/2020
Hot Dog reader Joe Dacey discovered something from the transcript of a podcast about “selling disruption” that will make total sense after you hear it: Joe Magadatz, the author of this parody of Gregory Godek’s book, was Gregory Godek himself. That’s how completely and perfectly awful Gregory Godek is.




This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme, Adrienne Hisbrook: who prefers IBMs and swordfish and actually likes Brancusi. Haha YOU know what we’re saying!