Hottie Safari

What do you call a short man who is often loud, belligerent and aggressive in the presence of the opposite sex? According to the American Hottieologists' Association, he would be classified as the species Napoleonic Complex Hottie, under the genus Damaged Goods.

Sure doesn't sound like good old-fashioned biology, does it? After noticing that hottie hunting is a favorite hobby of millions of women, Molly Gilford, a Denver native now living the single life in New York City, created the Association and wrote its manual, The Official Hottie Hunting Field Guide, to poke a little fun at the joys of modern dating. "Women have completely lost their sense of humor about dating," the author says. "I want them to take a playful look at dating, to not take things so seriously."

The Field Guide breaks men down into 86 different species, ranging from High-Maintenance Hottie to Stuck in the '80s Hottie to Ex-Con Hottie to Chivalrous Hottie. "Yes, the book objectifies men a little," Gilford concedes, "but not in a bad way." Instead, she promises, "It's just silly."

Taking a year off from working as an actress, the 26-year-old researched, wrote and self-published her book. "I sold everything that I owned on eBay and lived on Cheerios," says Gilford, who recently finished a screenplay based on the Field Guide. "I basically leapt and assumed that the net would appear." The book, she notes, is gaining momentum, "because this is how women actually talk with their girlfriends."

Now Gilford is coming home to share her insights into the male animal at a book signing at the Denver Women's Press Club this Thursday. "Denver is really an easy place to hottie-hunt, especially for Granola-Crunching, Tree-Hugging, Dirt-Munching Hotties," she says. "Hit Wash Park in the evening and rollerblade into him, or hang out at the Market in LoDo and ask him to get something down off those tall shelves. You can't have serendipity if you don't take a chance."

Along with tips on how to pick up men, the Field Guide, which is available at the Tattered Cover and online, includes a Guy-to-English Dictionary to help decode guy gibberish. (The book's definition of a hottie's emotional age: his biological age, less twelve years.)

"I'm really a hopeless romantic at heart," Gilford sighs. "But we could all use a little help. The whole point of all this is to end up with someone you can share your life with."