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How to Iron Your Own Damn Shirt: The Perfect Husband Handbook Featuring Over 50 Foolproof Ways to Win, Woo & Wow Your Wife Paperback – April 26, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400053625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400053629
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Craig Boreth is a perfect-husband-in-training who lives in Santa Monica, California, with his perfect wife.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

How to Know Your Limitations

“Relax, all right. My old man is a television repairman, he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.” —Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn),Fast Times at Ridgemont High

“Man’s got to know his limitations.” —Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood),Magnum Force

This book is filled with instructions for things you need to know in order to be the perfect husband. But to start things off, let’s take a moment to figure out how to know when not to do something. You’re faced with a task that you figure is pretty straightforward. Your wife, of course, is skeptical, and happy to let you know it. Do you take a stand, or fold like a cheap map? Sometimes (not nearly as often as your wife would prefer, of course) a real man must admit he’s completely clueless and defer to wiser minds. The question is, how do you know when to go with your gut, dive right in, and let the chips fall where they may, and when to take the mature (i.e., whipped), sensible (i.e., uninspired), and responsible (i.e., boring) path?

The two questions you must ask yourself are:

1.How difficult is this task?

2.What are the consequences if I screw it up?

You must take each factor into consideration when deciding how to proceed. For example, replacing the air filter in your home’s central air-conditioning unit might be a simple maneuver. But if your in-laws are arriving tomorrow for Labor Day weekend, you’d better get a professional in there to guarantee it’s done right.

The difficulty of a task is basically defined by your own familiarity with it, the accessibility of instructions for how to do it, and the number of special tools involved. If you’re pretty sure you know where the air filter goes, and the guy down at Sears can get you the right filter, and all you need is a screwdriver, you’re all set. But if you don’t know the first thing about a project, don’t have any idea where to look for help, and have never even heard of an immersion heater spanner, forget about it.

This brings us to the three areas of disastrous consequence to consider:

1.Exorbitant cost

2.Familial ridicule

3.Bodily harm

If you try to replace your car’s timing belt and screw it up, you’re probably in for a new engine. If you crash the aforementioned air-conditioning, you’ve got a weekend of sweaty in-laws ahead of you, and if you plan a best-of-seven hoops grudge match with your old college roommates, you’ll likely end up hospitalized (or worse). So, here are some guidelines to help you know your limitations:

Ironically, the best way to know your limitations is to never find out what they are. That is, never get close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which invariably will be the anemic fluorescent glow from a hospital room or lawyer's office. So, be honest with yourself. If you’ve got bad mojo around car engines, electricity, or black diamond trails, then just don’t go there.

If you’re seriously considering taking on a new task, follow this rule: If in doubt, hire it out. That means if you are in doubt, not if your wife is in doubt. She’s not yet convinced you can gargle without choking each morning, let alone change the oil or carve a turkey. The key is how you honestly feel about your abilities. If you’re really not sure, then hire a professional the first time (for the turkey carving, that means defer to her father), learn how it’s done, and consider doing it yourself next time. If you’re certain you can do it, there are still some steps to take to ensure that you actually can.

If you’re about to embark on a project you’ve never done before, you’ve got to get your hands on authoritative instructions. That means finding a book on the subject (preferably the one you’re holding in your hands right now), or a friend who knows what he’s doing, or both. The book will tell you how it’s done, the friend will tell you if it’s possible. And all throughout this process, don’t forget to always consider (1) how difficult this undertaking is and (2) what the consequences are. If,after conducting proper research and determining that both the difficulty and consequences are reasonable, only then may you proceed. Otherwise, get professional help.

See “How to Be Handy” (page 96) for some suggestions to help you do the job right. The most important tip is “Use the Correct Tool for the Job.” Nothing will accentuate your ineptitude like hammering nails with a monkey wrench or scraping off putty with a kitchen knife. If you’re stuck on a job because you can’t jury-rig a tile cutter from a circular saw, two pizza boxes, and a garden hose, then you’ve reached your limit. Go out and buy the right tool, and get the job done. But even then you may want to take a moment to make sure your insurance is up to date.

One final thought: Another way to help you determine whether or not to charge forth with a particular endeavor is to think about how your obituary would read if things didn’t work out quite so well. “Tragic spackling accident” is no way for a real man to go.

How to Get a Close Shave

A recent study by a British aftershave maker found that 92 percent of women prefer a clean-shaven man. The study also found that 63 percent of men believed that facial hair made men more attractive. These results suggest an intriguing connubial conundrum. She wants him to shave off the mustache or, more likely, the goatee that he’s had since college (or his most recent midlife crisis). He’d rather not, believing that his facial hair is a babe magnet.

She has two options: Force him to shave, and risk him shacking up with a gaggle of nubile young coeds. Or leave him hairy, and rest assured that no young chippie is going to come along and steal him away. Given that the odds of the former scenario occurring are zero on a good day, I’m guessing she’ll take her chances with a clean-shaven husband.

Salvation for the hirsute hubby lies in his learning how to get the smoothest shave with the least irritation, chafing, and blood loss.

Getting a close shave is actually quite easy, but for some reason men have been misinformed over the generations and have suffered needlessly. Actually, since we’re incapable of asking for help, just like our fathers and their fathers before them, we’re pretty much using the same technique employed by our great-great-grandfathers back in the old shtetl in Minsk. It’s time to update things a bit.

First of all, modernizing does not necessarily mean new technology. I’ve never known those electric shavers to work. They look pretty good in the commercials, but as I’m told, commercials are not the most accurate reflection of reality (who knew?). So, get your hands on a good disposable razor, with at least two blades. I’m partial to the Gillette Sensor, but I’ll use whatever higher-end razor they’ve got at Costco that day.

Now, next time your wife drags you to one of those big department stores, head straight for the men’s grooming section. Tell them you want a good shave cream and aftershave (and, if you really want to take the plunge, invest in a badger-hair brush, and then buy shave cream designed for use with it). Specialty brands like Kiehl’s will make all the difference over the products you’ve been using, by taking care of your skin and setting you up for a great shave.

Timing is the key to a close shave. You always want to shave after you shower. The steam and hot water from the shower will open up your pores and soften your beard. When you get out of the shower, crank up the hot water in the sink, as hot as you can stand it. If you’ve ever wondered why anyone would ever need a washcloth, here’s your answer: Soak that sucker with hot water, apply it to your face, and hold it there for a few seconds. Before applying the shave cream, you may want to try using a facial scrub to exfoliate your skin. Kiehl’s sells a Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub that works wonders.

Next apply the shave cream. Forget about those foams and gels you’ve been using. It's time to get a real cream that you apply by hand or with a brush. If you’ve got sensitive skin, be sure to use a cream with mint or chamomile to soothe your skin. Kiehl’s Green Eagle Shave Cream works great. Forget about lathering up, all you want is a barely visible film, enough to protect your face but not clog up your razor. Using your fingertips or a shaving brush, massage the shave cream into your beard in tight, circular motions, starting with an upward motion (against the grain). When you’re done, get the hot water running again, wash off your hands, place your razor in the sink, and cover it with hot water. This gives you a little time to admire your manly physique before the metal meets the mug.

Start your shave with the least sensitive parts of your face, usually the cheeks. Use smooth, steady downward strokes, rinsing the razor thoroughly after every few strokes. For most men, the neck is the most sensitive part, so we’ll leave that for last and do the chin and upper lip next. This gives the moisturizer in the shave cream the maximum possible time to soften up your beard. When you get to the neck, keep in mind that you want to keep shaving with the grain, which in some cases may not be downward but sort of sideways toward your throat. Just follow the grain on your face and you’ll be all right.

When you’re done, check for any missed spots (especially along the jawline), then rinse your face with warm water and pat dry with a towel (don’t wipe your...

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Customer Reviews

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A perfect gift for husbands, brothers, best friends, and their groomsmen.
Talie Katt
I look forward to reading any book Craig Boreth writes because he also completely understands the female psyche and his wit and comedic timing is perfect.
Rebecca of Amazon
On one level, the book's short chapter bites and Jay Mazhar's great illustrations make for the quintessential "coffee table/bathroom book."
Hamilton Hamilton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Hamilton Hamilton on May 6, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Craig Boreth has done it yet again. First there was that other thing and now . . . this. Wow! What next? But, let's focus on this right now . . .

I must admit that I was immediately drawn to the hilariously strident tone of the title when I included the book in my Amazon guide "So You Want To Be Your Own Wife." But that is part of the brilliance of " . . . Damn Shirt . . ."'s concept: looks like a feminist screed, actually is a cleverly disguised spy manual for men to the secret and mysterious world of connubial bliss, nay, even concupiscience.

Ok, yes, my wife and I blithely disregarded the rules for reading (See "For Men Only" and "For Women Only") and read it selectively aloud together. We hooted again and again and agreed that it was not only funny but spot-on. Although we are surely not the target audience (my wife thinks farts are quite amusing and I find ironing meditative . . . go figure!), we loved the book and ordered a few more copies as gifts for friends.

On one level, the book's short chapter bites and Jay Mazhar's great illustrations make for the quintessential "coffee table/bathroom book." But it is much more. Each chapter---with great titles like "How To Eliminate Gas" and "How To Walk Slowly Through a Museum"---has a witty and humorous lead-in that then manages to segue into very real useful and well-researched information for, not just wife-pleasing and appearance-of-sophistication, but things that all self-respecting, socially-mobile adult males should take personal pride in doing. Things like being considerate of others in one's environment, listening to others (or at least appearing to), tying a bow tie, keeping your body fit, and, my personal favorite, "How To Have a Reasonable Midlife Crisis".
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Since my husband irons his own shirt every morning, the title caught my attention. I've always been impressed by his ironing abilities especially if it allows me to sleep a little longer. I loved the chapter on finding the perfect gift, breakfast in bed and grocery shopping, not to mention the recipes for Crème Brűlée and making Stir-Fry.

I'll agree that men who can cook and clean are very sexy. Just tell a woman you do these things and she will probably forget all other men exist. Imagine how she will be bragging about you to her friends and relatives. There is also a chapter on how to Win Over Her Parents, Enjoy a Chick Flick and Grow the Perfect Lawn. Each task has a difficulty rating and a reward rating.

The main concept in this book seems to be about showing a woman you care about making her life a little less stressful and much more romantic. Even the smallest effort will not go unnoticed and I can almost guarantee a woman will be most appreciative and plan romantic situations to reward such kindness. Plus, with all the time she saves not having to iron shirts, imagine the possibilities.

Craig Boreth is a truly talented writer who has written for major publications. He also has quite the varied life experience as a landscape architect, chef, electrician and carpenter. He joins the ranks of authors like W. Bruce Cameron, Steven Andrew Guerrero and Mike Dugan who provide humorous insight into the male psyche and also love women and take pride in making a woman's life more enjoyable.

I look forward to reading any book Craig Boreth writes because he also completely understands the female psyche and his wit and comedic timing is perfect.

~The Rebecca Review
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ruckus on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
After hearing the author on the Howard Stern show, I had to check out this book. I'm glad I did, as the book actually presents loads of useful ideas and tips for all of us husbands looking for that 'edge'. The book is a very easy read, and can be read cover-to-cover or individual chapters as needed. Although the book has a tongue-in-cheek veneer, this is a sincere book with useful ideas in every chapter, presented in a funny way where you find yourself saying, "I've been in that EXACT situation." No preaching or talking-down in this book...

My favorite chapter is the last one, where Boreth relates a brief story where one of his friends is in Vegas and proceeds to max out the daily limit on his ATM card...and later that day his wife is unable to buy food for their daughter...classic example of what NOT to do as a husband...he even then names the offender, Gary Lipshutz of Metuchen NJ, in hopes of shaming him out of future similar behavior.

In short, the tips in this book have enabled me to parlay my 'good husbandness' into not only an annual Vegas trip, but also an annual 4-day golf outing with the guys plus multiple random nights out during the year. In turn, I have also encouraged my wife to take a weekend trip with her mother and sister, or her friends...

Thank you Craig Boreth, for making me a more perfect husband!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Connor on April 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read How to Iron Your Own Damn Shirt: The Perfect Husband Handbook from cover to cover in almost a single sitting. I couldn't put it down! Mr. Boreth's prose is so engaging and giggle producing that I felt as if he were having a conversation with me--I laughed with every turn of the page. His instructions are easy to follow and seem to make the evolution toward perfect husbandhood painless, and even fun.

It's true that for eons women have thought they had men figured out (I mean, come on, there's a reason why their buttons are on the OTHER side, right?), but How to Iron Your Own Damn Shirt fills in those few remaining blanks for the ladies, and reveals a thing or two that THEY need to know about US (sweet!). As Mr. Boreth so eloquently points out, it's not that we women want the PERFECT husband, we want our friends and family to THINK he's perfect, thereby making the in-laws happy and the world a more harmonious place for us all in the bargain.

I would recommend this book to everyone, male or female--whether you're single and hoping to find that perfect mate, preparing to celebrate your 25th wedding anniversary, young or old, gay or straight--this book has it all!
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