Candy May Be Dandy, But Books Won’t Rot Your Teeth

Will it be the same old same-old for you this Valentine’s Day?

The sweet sugar rush followed by the diabetic mini-coma of chocolates?

The passing fancy of overpriced petals, wilting faster than a disappointed woman’s ardor?

Portrait of the author as a young madman

There’s always wine. But there’s always wine. For some, it’s one of the food groups, part of an unbalanced diet. So nothing about shiraz or sauvignon or chardonnay or even sin-fandel says special occasion on Valentine’s Day.

Lingerie might make the moment memorable, though most men look butt-ugly in black satin.

Why not pair some fancy flimsies with Sex is a Four-Letter Word and Other Misconceptions, the new book by award-winning columnist Tom Mills?

What could make for a more monumental Valentine’s Day than exploring the secrets to simultaneous choregasm with your sweetie? Or even with someone you just met, for that matter?

Learn how to make the earth move with the sex diet. On the sex diet, an hour later you’re either hungry again or horny again.

Discover the male version of an ideal Valentine’s Day and why it remains as elusive as the G-spot.

Find out why grocery store produce sections or hardware store tool aisles are the best places for singles to meet their match.

Sex is a Four-Letter Word and Other Misconceptions is not just a sex manual.

Not even.

It’s a humour book, a collection of Mills’s best-loved and least-despised columns, updated to bring the two of you pleasure as you peruse them together in the altogether over that second bottle of wine.

Mills’s humour columns have appeared in newspapers across Ontario, possibly the one you stopped subscribing to so you could be unencumbered by any facts when seeking “the truth” on social media.

As we all know, or at least those of us who flunked out of med school, the way to a woman’s heart is through her funny bone. Who needs a GPS?

Indeed, as Mills points out in one blatantly self-serving column, scientists have proven again and again that a woman with a partner possessed of a good sense of humour enjoys a more satisfying sex life. (More satisfying than what? Only the scientists know?)

Despite the book’s title and the Renaissance-era depiction of Adam and Even and at least one serpent on the cover, Sex is a Four-Letter Word and Other Misconceptions is not just about male-female relationships.

Yes, you’ll explode with paroxysms of laughter, probably sooner than you expected, while reading the chapter titled Men Are From Mars: Some Women Wish They Had Stayed There.

Then you can cool your jets with columns on travel, trends, nature, health, aging and grandparenting.

Join Mills on his ship of fools and discover why he came out as a straight grandfather during a Caribbean cruise and punched a donkey on a Greek island paradise.

Benefit from his tips on grandfathering, such as feeding the kids a steady diet of cheese slices and chocolate and delaying diaper changes until the smell overwhelms the air freshener.

Learn how to appear to be working while tanning on your dock; why the superhero pantheon should embrace seniors such as Hot Flash and Flatulenceman; how many beers provide the recommended daily dose of fibre; what Shakespeare must have been smoking.

All that for just $15 (plus $8 shipping and handling). Or $12 US plus $5 shipping and handling, a special deal for our American friends.

At that price, if this book doesn’t heat things up in the boudoir you can chuck it in the woodstove and heat the whole house. Try doing that with an e-book.

Will reading Sex is a Four-Letter Word and Other Misconceptions put the two of you (or however many of you there are) in the mood for making whoopie (or Whoopi, if that’s what turns you on)?

Well it couldn’t be less arousing than reading about Donald Trump or how to improve your diet by foraging in dumpsters.

And each column takes less time to read than it takes at least one of you to reach fulfilment, if you read it really fast.

Sex is a Four-Letter Word and Other Misconceptions can be purchased through Mills’s website or by contacting him by email at It’s also available at select retail outlets listed on the website.

If you find you’re still laughing four hours after reading the book, contact a doctor. A doctor of psychiatry would do nicely.


Puke If You’ve Heard This

A joke going the rounds during my university days went something like this:

A student gets into a taxi and asks the driver if there’s room for a pizza and a case of 24. When the driver answers “yes,” the student vomits all over the back seat.

A high-speed ferry similar to the one that conveyed us on our vomit voyage

Such was the base level of humour in the neoproterozoic age, when some of my cohort were pursuing higher knowledge and others were mostly pursuing highs.

Even then it barely qualified as a joke. We had more sophisticated and intellectual jokes, but after a few beers we no longer understood them.


Perhaps university students tell a similar joke today, although it now involves shooters, nachos and Uber.

Anyway, that tasteless humour serves the purpose of introducing the topic of this musing, which is vomit.

Although I am a sensitive soul, I hardly ever vomit myself and have a surprising tolerance for the vomit of others.

Indeed, when my roommate during my freshman year mistook our bedroom and bathroom for a taxi, a housemate and I cleaned up what seemed to be a whole term’s worth of partially digested junk food and alcohol.

The housemate and I became journalists. My roommate might have become an engineer, had he not flunked out for spending more time at the racetrack than in the classroom. I’ll leave it to you to decide if those career choices are at all metaphoric.

I don’t think my friends and I ever vomit after a night of drinking any more. That’s not because we’re more mature. It’s because people of our age can’t stay awake long enough to get that drunk.

But for decades now I’ve cleaned up after puking little pukes and sat beside airsick strangers, barely coughing up a sympathetic gagging sound in response.

I put my stomach to the test a few years ago by taking a high-speed ferry from Crete to another Greek Island.

Until then I had imagined the Mediterranean to be a kind and gentle sea. That day it felt closer to conditions during the final voyage of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

My first clue that our trip would have a persistent “bleaaghh” soundtrack was when the crew handed out extra barf bags to supplement the supply already in seat backs in front of us.

I sat beside a travelling companion who assured me his stomach was cast iron because he had been a merchant marine during his youth.

He spent most of the trip doubled over casting his stomach contents into barf bags.

As we waited to disembark he sent a text to his son. Then he broke out in as much laughter as he could muster in his weakened condition.

“Look at the typo I just made,” he said, showing me the text.

It read, “Just got off the high-spewed ferry from Crete.”

A Little Christmas Magic

My favourite moment this Christmas was when my 5-year-old grandson dragged me into the front room to admire my own Christmas tree.

Rather, to admire one particular ornament, which featured a photo of my then-4-year-old grandson.

“How did I get on the tree?” he marvelled, clearly not recalling that he had made that ornament, with its popsicle-stick frame, and given it to his grandpa last Christmas.

The appearance of his face on an ornament on my tree joined all of those other apparently inexplicable occurrences this time of year that kids lump under the headings of “Christmas” or “magic”.

That he drew a blank was understandable. A fifth of his young life had passed in the interim. And in his crafty house, Kindergarten and assorted extracurricular programs he has constructed a cornucopia of keepsakes in the past year.

Expecting him to remember that particular creation was a little like dredging up one of the columns from a couple of decades ago and calling on me to recite it.

Still, I don’t know who was more excited and pleased: The young one who discovered his own face on a tree ornament or the grandpa who had thought to hang it at the level of a five-year-old’s eyes.

Photo: My tree this morning, magically transported outside. Happy New Year, all.