Archive for Table for One

Whatever suits him

I admit to laughing at this:

Angered by the sexism he saw being heaped upon his female colleagues — and attempts to downplay it — Australian news reader Karl Stefanovic decided to conduct an experiment.

He wore the same blue suit on air, two days in a row. Then three. A month ticked by without a ripple.

Now, a full year has passed — and he is still wearing the same cheap Burberry knock-off, every morning, on Channel Nine’s Today program.

Not a single audience member has asked about it, he says. Fashion commentators and other media also seem oblivious. Yet co-host Lisa Wilkinson still receives regular and unsolicited fashion appraisals.

My particular interest, however, is not so much in exposing sexism where I find it — and believe me, I find a lot of it — than in recalling a bit of ancient history.

Back when I was on an assembly line of sorts in the early 1980s, I had learned lots of snark, not quite so much discretion. There was this proto-metrosexual type who wandered into the work unit on a regular basis, said something we couldn’t hear over the racket, and wandered back out again. For four days running, he wore, yes, a blue suit. I’d noticed on day two; on day three, I was perplexed; and on day four, I vowed to do something.

On day five, he showed up in a brown suit, and I blurted out, “Hey, I see you dyed the blue suit!”

I have no idea where that line came from; I’m guessing some cable comedy series. But my timing was impeccable, and amazingly, I was still working there four years later.

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Somewhat pertinent today

This quote from Tina Fey’s Bossypants (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011) has become somewhat timely again:

I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom — Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful.

Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyoncé and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.

I can’t keep up.

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Spurning potential

I wish to state for the record that I was not one of the individuals writing in:

I read several dozen stories a year from miserable, lonely guys who insist that women won’t come near them despite the fact that they are just the nicest guys in the world.

The trouble with that, of course, is that it’s not much of a selling point, “nice” in this context being defined as “less sucky than average.” In this case, it’s simply not quite enough to close the deal:

“But I’m a great listener!” Are you? Because you’re willing to sit quietly in exchange for the chance to be in the proximity of a pretty girl (and spend every second imagining how soft her skin must be)? Well guess what, there’s another guy in her life who also knows how to do that, and he can play the guitar. Saying that you’re a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn’t make you sick. You’re like a new movie whose title is This Movie Is in English, and its tagline is “The actors are clearly visible.”

I’d definitely go to see that movie. I don’t think I’d be able to get a date for it, though. Then again, the last film I saw in an actual theater was My Little Pony: Equestria Girls — Rainbow Rocks, at ten in the morning. Make of that what you will.

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What do girls know about games, anyway?

The #GamerGate kerfuffle might lead some of you to think that OMG, there’s so much sexism out there. You probably should have seen it thirty years ago:

I got the job on a whim. I happened to be in the store looking at Intellivision games. I didn’t have an Intellivision, but was interested in perhaps buying a console. I got to talking to the manager of the store about video games and at the end of the conversation, he offered me a job. I took it.

That job was a lesson in sexism. All too often, guys would come in looking for advice on which games or console to buy, or to browse our massive D&D section and when I went to help them, they would ask if my manager was around, or they would tell me they didn’t need my help. I’d try to engage them, talk to them about the games, but they would always, in various phrasing, say they want a guy to help them. That they didn’t think I’d be able to answer their questions or know enough about the games to help them make their decisions. Sometimes I would be the only employee in the store (when my manager was there, he backed me up) and they were stuck with me. They would pepper me with questions, making me “prove” my knowledge or my fandom. This was the same attitude I faced as a sports fan — guys often making me prove my worth, as if i had to pass a test to be allowed into their “club.”

“But you’re a girl!” followed her all through womanhood:

I eventually quit that job — a job I thought was my dream job (I was only about 19, what did I know) — because I was tired of being on the verge of tears all the time. The thing was, I still loved working there. I loved being surrounded by video games all day. I loved that part of my job was demonstrating the games but I also loved that part of the job was demonstrating my knowledge and so often I wasn’t given that chance because I was a girl and what do girls know about video games?

Which is not to say that things have actually improved since those days:

I’m just as frustrated now as I was when I stood in that store and had a guy tell me “I don’t mind you working here because you have a nice ass, but I still want Steve to help me.” The harassment women are feeling today is a hundred times worse than that. The internet has allowed men to swarm in masses and attack as one. Women are being driven out of their homes because of threats made by rabid misogynists.

There are, of course, no stories with but a single side. If you’re just now coming upon this issue, here are two of them. My usual position on these matters is that everyone who steps into them eventually gets something unspeakable on their shoes. The “swarm” technique, I assure you, is genuine, an unwanted reminder of the atavistic tribalism that not one of us has ever completely outgrown.

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Keeping it bottled up

Meanwhile in Dubai, a land largely populated by twenty-first-century Jed Clampetts, a marriage has broken down:

A court granted a divorce to a man after he discovered that his wife was possessed by a djinn and refused to go to bed with him.

The man lodged a divorce case against the woman after she repeatedly refused to have sex with him and her family informed him that she was possessed by a djinn.

Records said the Arab man tolerated his wife for a period of time as she persistently refused to go to bed with him.

However, the woman finally asked him to try to discuss the issue with her parents, who informed the husband that several religious scholars had failed to exorcise the djinn.

The Dubai Sharia Court awarded the husband the divorce and asked him to pay around Dh40,000 in maintenance to his ex-wife.

Tony Nelson was not available for comment.

(Via Newser, which I always thought ought to be “Newsr.”)

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This swan is already dead

In this morning’s spam heap, an improbable offer:

Anna Pavlova has sent you a message.
=========================
Message ID #3184324
=========================
Date: 10-16-14.
=========================
Username:  chaz@dustbury.com 
=========================
Password:   [redacted]
=========================

Chat with Anna Pavlova today.  Follow these instructions

-1- Go here http://gonow.mumob.com

-2- Enter your communication mode.

-3- Meet Anna Pavlova today.

It did not help that pretty much the same message (different message ID, marginally different “password”) was sent to one of my other email addresses.

Still, who among us with a peripheral interest in dance wouldn’t want a chance to chat with Anna Pavlova?

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I saw her again

The Mamas and the Papas had a song by this title; it was apparently about a brief affair. This isn’t. Instead, it’s about this:

Why shouldn’t I have, you ask? There are places I should not go.

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Watch that wallpaper

I suppose what I really want to know here is why this clod expects to have his phone seized:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: To the women if a guy has a naked woman as his phone background do you make him change it/r u offended enough to leave him?

Which naked woman, you ask?

I want to have Anna Nicole as my background but I fear the loss of a future gf if I start dating & she grabs my phone.

“Honey, she’s been dead for seven years!” will not help you in this case.

I admit to having once had a picture of Debbie Gibson as phone wallpaper, though she was not unclothed. (At least, not completely.) Never you mind what’s there now.

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Advanced skank

Lynn bids for some trouble:

Oh, this might get me in trouble with some people but I’m going to say it: Yes, definitely, sexy does have an expiration date, though the photos of Tina Turner and Cher (the latter obviously airbrushed) seem to suggest otherwise. Seriously, Cher didn’t look that good when she was 30. She couldn’t because they hadn’t invented Photoshop yet.

The actual photographic-use airbrush, as we know it, dates back to the 19th century. And Cher doesn’t really need to worry so long as there’s Armor All. (As for Tina, well, the legs, as usual, are the last things to go, though I am told she doesn’t move them quite so quickly as she used to.)

I don’t have any particular problem with cosmetic surgery as long as it’s subtle and not overdone. If I had the money I would definitely go there myself someday. But “sexy” is not the only way to be attractive. Grace, dignity, charm, elegance, style, class — these are attractive alternatives to sexy at any age but older women should absolutely aspire to these qualities instead of trying to be “sexy”. And I think there might be some debate as to what, exactly, is sexy. Is Miley Cyrus sexy, or merely skanky?

There exists a video, extracted from the Today Show feed last October — it apparently didn’t make it to the actual broadcast — in which Miley, sitting like a high-school wide receiver, ends up playing footsie with Matt Lauer. To me, this was the tipping point, after which she was on the last train to Skankville. Then again, your mileage may vary. (And Cyrus herself said in that very interview that 40 is the portal to asexuality. Go figure. Lauer, at the time, was 55.)

I suspect that at some point you just don’t give that much of a damn anymore: you’re obviously not dead yet, but looking however many years younger goes off your list of priorities, never to return. Or, as Lynn says: “Eventually every normal woman gets tired of all that nonsense and just wants to be herself.”

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Abandoned pursuit

Those of us with hermetically-sealed dance cards are pretty much sick and tired of this sort of thing:

Once you’ve been single for a few months years, you start to hear the phrase “when you stop looking for it, it will come” a hundred different times in a hundred different variations. It. gets. old. And besides that, it’s not even realistic. Why, when we’re told to work for everything else in life, do we have this prevailing view as a society that the universe is going to reward our apathy regarding relationships with just that: a relationship? It’s totally ridiculous, and I’m with Katie that it’s awful advice.

No way can I argue with Katie:

[S]ingle people are constantly encouraged to stop being single — whether it’s a friend setting you up, a relative you only see a couple times a year always making sure to ask if you’re seeing anyone, or the sad, simple fact that the most liked comments on Facebook are always about relationship statuses.

But I mean, yeah, I’ll devote myself solely to everything else in my life and stop thinking about romance just so that moment I “least expect” will come and I’ll find my true love.

Seems legit. And, of course, that’s the problem with it.

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Old chum

This has nothing to do with Cabaret, or for that matter with cabaret — unless you were hoping someone would invite you.

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Quote of the week

There has been much wailing and gnashing of lipstick-stained teeth over the continuing presence of those horrid little micro- (and sometimes macro-) aggressions known as gender roles; what’s more, a not-quite-insignificant percentage of one-half the species has sworn eternal enmity toward the entirety of the other half. James Lileks sums up (some of) the kerfuffle:

Modern-day sororal self-segregation is more of the same, and if they wish to form their own mutual-assistance societies of whatever form, go right ahead. No man will sue to join. To paraphrase Groucho, they wouldn’t want to join a club that wouldn’t want him for his member.

As for the male-free Internet thing, I can sympathize. Most of the vicious, idiotic, miserable, weevil-souled trolls are men, or rather largish boys who grew up on the internet and have not quite grasped the idea that there are true, actual human beings on the other side of the screen. Comments and tweets are just another form of electronic play; you shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto, call a strange woman nasty names because she criticizes, say, the fact that you can shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto. It’s just a game you **** and someone should do it to you. And so on.

It’s odd. You know most of these boy-men were brought up in solid homes with religious grounding, taught to respect women in the old chivalric sense of courtesy and respect, right? My heavens, what went wrong? You could say it’s confusion over how they’re supposed to behave: if you hold the door open for a woman, you’re a sexist, unless she likes you, in which case it’s romantic, although if you don’t hold the door open and it slams in her face you’re a jerk. But these roles were in flux when I was in my twenties, and we didn’t react by sending obscene postcards to strangers. It has to be something else. The internet, in general, has not created more idiots, fools, miscreants, pedants, and fiends; it has simply revealed their numberless hordes, and given them a limitless plain on which to play.

I’ve said this repeatedly at concentrations of douchery like, say, Yahoo! Answers: The asshats have always been with us. It’s just that they’ve made themselves marginally harder to ignore.

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At the sign of the catty

We open with a quote from TLC regarding “scrubs”:

A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
Hanging out the passenger side
Of his best friend’s ride
Trying to holler at me

The hollering here is also dubbed “catcalling,” which was news to me: I grew up with the notion that “catcalling” was what Philadelphia sports fans did to the visiting team — or, sometimes, to the home team. Then again, doing the wolf-whistle thing was so far out of my comfort zone back then that actually doing it was unthinkable. Women, I suspect, aren’t keen on it anyway:

I’m still always shocked and confused when a person says “I don’t know what you’re so mad about! They’re just trying to COMPLIMENT you for God’s sake!”

I guess my confusion stems from my definition of a compliment: “a polite expression of praise or admiration,” because to me, yelling at a woman from a moving vehicle doesn’t feel as polite as I guess it was intended. Because the way I was taught, polite would be allowing me the chance to respond which, since you’re driving at 50 MPH straight past me doesn’t really seem like an option. Although I suppose it is always an option for me to write down your license plate number and track you down through the DMV or local police station. Or maybe I could just run after your car until you stop, and we’re finally united in true love.

But all of that aside, I was always of the opinion that a compliment is intended to make the recipient feel good, not the complimenter. And if that were the case, there wouldn’t be women confronting you about it, or men going on the defensive when they do.

I’m not staking any claim to the moral high ground here: had I been persuaded that this particular practice might actually work, I might well have given it a try — nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? But there is no set of circumstances under which I could believe that she’d dressed herself up and planted herself in that particular location just to catch my eye: in my experience, this simply does not happen, and I can think of no reason why it should.

And yes, I suppose, once in a while it might pay off for someone; if it never did, it would never occur to anyone else to try it.

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Fingering the perp

If there’s a tragedy here, it’s that there’s a recognizable need for this product:

An undergraduate team at North Carolina State University might have just revolutionized your make-up drawer. The four students are working to develop a nail polish that changes color if it comes into contact with date rape drugs Rohypnol and GHB. That means that women who wear the new polish — dubbed Undercover Colors — could determine whether their drink has had an unwelcome ingredient added just by dipping in a finger.

The four-person company — all men, as it happens — has raised $100k in funding and continues to work on its product.

There is a downside, of course: this won’t work with rapists who use other drugs, such as strawberry daiquiris.

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Meet the (Chinese) beetles

Jack Baruth tells you the horrible story of Agrilus planipennis:

The Emerald Ash Borer is scheduled to kill eight billion trees in North America in the near future. As a country, we had no defense against it. The predators which hold the EAB under control in China haven’t made it into an iPhone crate yet. Every ash tree in this country and Canada will die. Eight billion trees. Eight billion, most of them mature. The Nature Conservatory says they will plant a billion trees by 2025. Well, for every tree you plant, the Chinese beetle will kill eight. We’re told that the rainforest is disappearing at a staggering rate. It’s something like two or three billion trees a year. In other words, this beetle is kicking the ass of the Global Corporate Rainforest Destroying Bush-Hitler Machine, all by itself.

And yet you’ll never hear about those eight billion trees outside of a special-interest magazine because it’s critical that we not pay too much attention to what we actually suffer as a country by sending all our manufacturing and applied science to a country full of people who, as a rule, view us as uncultured, depraved monkeys. It’s critical that the manufacturing keep leaving this country so the power and the influence shift to the politicians and the major blogs and the thought leaders in Silicon Valley. Once upon a time, the wealthiest county in the United States was Oakland County [Michigan], where the auto executives and the $100,000-a-year blue-collar overtime workers lived. Now it’s #61 on the list. Four of the five wealthiest counties in the nation now directly border Washington, D.C. You see how the power shifts when money stops coming from commerce and starts coming from quantitative easing.

But then, this isn’t necessarily about trees — or commerce:

When the trees crashed down I thought about some other things, some other people. You can love someone and have a relationship with them but the beetles can get in there, they can burrow, they can leave the bark untouched but the damage beneath is enough to kill. Then one day the bark falls off and you realize how long it’s been dead, how long you’ve been ignoring it, how long you’ve been hoping that spring would come and you’d see leaves, knowing in your heart that you would only see branches.

When I moved here I had twelve trees, a pretty fair number for a quarter of an acre. Now I have thirteen, but three of them are standing only because neither saw nor wind in adequate quantity has been provided, and, as Jack says, “Having trees cut down is more expensive than having them planted, by the way, the same way a divorce attorney is more expensive than a justice of the peace.” Yep.

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Recapture clause

Freshly spammed my way: a method to get one’s ex back.

No, really:

My system is rooted in behavioral psychology. By combining this with text messages to deliver the message, the result is a system that is so powerful, it has worked for more than 10,000 people!

Text messages are direct, non-confrontational, and can be responded to when it is convenient to the person you sent it to. They are especially effective when dealing with the situation in person, could be too risky.

Let Justin Sinclair, personal relationship expert, show you exactly what messages you need to send your Ex, and how to send them. You’ll be blown away when your Ex starts talking to you again and eventually asks to see you.

Believe me, if Jimmy Webb can’t do it, nobody can.

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Lose that boy

Don’t wait for it to happen on its own, either:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: He's going to die, help?

Taste considerations require this go below the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Super freekuency

This is worth the link just for the title — “On That List of Excuses for Not Having Sex Floating Around the Interweb” — but the discussion is not at all frivolous, and the last paragraph is highly quotable:

[A] mismatch must be seen as just that. There’s no right amount of sex to have, so someone agreeing to it three times a month must be accepted as much as someone wanting it several times a day or never at all. It just is what it is. A mismatch is a problem for both the person not getting as much as they desire, and for the person denying the request, but it’s only a problem at all if people hold sex in their relationship as more important than care, respect, and love. If you care enough, you can become attuned to one another’s needs. It might mean not asking even if you’re feeling it, and it might, for some people so inclined, mean doing things you’re not really into right now. Love isn’t about giving everything of ourselves to another person, though, or solving all their problems ourselves, it’s about caring about their issues enough to be there while they find their own way.

So there.

In fact, it’s not even necessary for the schedules to be out of sync for there to be a problem, as Woody Allen noted back in the day:

[Alvy and Annie are seeing their therapists at the same time on a split screen]

Alvy Singer’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?

Annie Hall’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?

Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.

Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.

Never you mind why I’d remember this after, oh, thirty-seven years.

Oh, this is the list being referenced.

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We so ex-seitan

They told me it was a gag. It is nothing of the kind:

GlutenFreeSingles started when two health conscious friends, one with celiac disease and the other gluten intolerance recognized the need for a gluten-free dating community that focused on singles with similar dietary needs. By creating GlutenFreeSingles we hope to help the 3 million people who have celiac disease and those who are gluten intolerant find valuable information, self-improvement, and long fulfilling gluten-free relationships.

Jack Sprat was not available for comment.

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On finishing last

Top of Urban Dictionary for “Nice Guy Syndrome”:

A annoying mental condition in which a heterosexual man concocts over-simplified ideas why women aren’t flocking to him in droves. Typically this male will whine and complain about how women never want to date them because he is “too nice” or that he is average in appearance. He often targets a woman who is already in a relationship; misrepresenting his intentions of wanting to be her friend and having the expectation that he is owed more than friendship because he is such a good listener. He is prone to brooding over this and passive-aggressive behavior.

He is too stupid to realize the reason women don’t find him attractive is because he feels sorry for himself, he concludes that women like to be treated like shit.

I don’t suffer from this, because (1) I’m not all that nice and (2) “average” would be at least one rung beyond my reach. (On the classic 1-10 scale, I’ve always considered myself around a 3, though that stereotype about “distinguished” older men probably earns me close to 4-hood.) My dance card, however, is no busier.

Maybe it’s … docility?

It really is a cliché that “good girls like bad boys,” and has been as long as I’ve been alive.

But why?

I think it’s all tied up in what modern culture thinks is “good” in terms of masculinity. “Good” men are obedient, follow the rules, recognize authority, are non-violent, and, lately, acknowledge the innate superiority of women over them and their brutish, testosterone-fueled impulses.

In short, a “good” man is everything that would have gotten himself, his women, his family, and his tribe killed and eaten while the bulk of humanity’s genome was selecting for survival.

Something like the ’46 Giants, of whom Dodgers manager Leo Durocher scoffed: “The ‘nice guys’ are all over there, in seventh place.” And the fact that both the Giants and the Dodgers eventually fled to the Left Coast makes no difference, 68 years later.

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The heart wants what it wants

And those other parts have their own desires. A member of the Australian Parliament is under fire for describing exactly what she looks for in a man:

Jacqui Lambie, an Australian MP who shares the balance of power in the upper house, has apologised after declaring in a radio interview that she is looking for a partner who is “well-hung” and loaded with cash.

“They don’t even need to speak,” said Ms Lambie, a 43-year-old single mother of two.

In a radio interview in her home state of Tasmania, Ms Lambie told Heart FM that her ideal partner “must have heaps of cash and they’ve got to have a package between their legs.”

God forbid a man should say something like that about a woman, right?

(Via One Fine Jay.)

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Meanwhile in the background

Now I feel like I’ve been caught out:

Many older women complain about feeling invisible — no one turns a head when we walk into a room. As Linda Grant writes in The Thoughtful Dresser, “I have watched the eyes of men sweep a room and find that apart from the girl crossing her legs, over there, it is empty. After a certain age, women are invisible. Without a sexual stimulus, many men cannot process in the visual/conceptual portion of their brains that a woman is present.”

There is, I suspect, a reasonable chance that if the guy who just entered the room is actively searching for sexual stimuli, most of the women would just as soon not be noticed at all, at least by the likes of him. Then again, there are those who would argue that any man entering the room will first scan for eye candy before getting down to business, and I’m not in a position to offer myself as a counterexample, at least not honestly.

There exists a subversion of this trope in fiction, the most recent example I’ve seen being Jeanne Ray’s Calling Invisible Women (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012). In this novel, a fiftysomething woman literally vanishes, first piecemeal, then completely; but the men in her life — her husband, her son, the guys in the neighborhood — don’t even notice.

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They never outgrow the cheerleaders

I am aware that the ability to lure women half your age into the sack is highly prized these days, at least among men my age. And while I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it, I’d be damned embarrassed if I came off like this:

We met on a dating site. Dave was interesting, gentlemanly and bright. He held my hand and toured with me on long bicycle rides. He drove many miles to come to my door. He made meals for us both and ruffled my dog’s happy head. I was enticed and longed for the full knowing of this man. And so, we planned a weekend together. That’s when things got confusing, unspoken and just-not-quite there. We went to bed in a couple’s way — unclothed and touching — all parts near. Kisses were shared and sleep came in hugs. I attempted more intimacy throughout the weekend and was deterred each time.

On Monday evening over the phone, I asked this man who had shared my bed for three nights running why we had not made love. “Your body is too wrinkly,” he said without a pause. “I have spoiled myself over the years with young woman. I just can’t get excited with you. I love your energy and your laughter. I like your head and your heart. But, I just can’t deal with your body.”

Dave is 55. Apparently he figures he’s still entitled to centerfold material. And this is what upset his applecart so:

I am a 59-year-old woman in great health and in good physical shape. I stand five-feet, nine-inches tall and weigh 135 pounds. I wear a size six in both jeans and panties, and my breasts are nowhere near my navel. In fact, they still struggle to make it full-up in a B-cup bra. My thighs are no longer velvet and my buttocks have dimples. My upper arms wobble a bit and my skin shows the marks of the sun. There is a softness around my waist that is no longer perfectly taut, and the pout of my abdomen attests to a c-section that took its bikini flatness — but gave me a son.

I should be in such shape, qualitatively speaking, at my age, which, you’ll remember, is only slightly beyond hers.

The manosphere would explain to me that Dave’s just exercising his Game, and maybe I’ll give him that. But the time to back off, I contend, is a long time before the third trip to the bedroom. And I have enough douchitude of my own to regret, thank you very much; you’re not helping.

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Because cradles were designed to be robbed

“Nabo-who?” asked a puzzled Twilight Sparkle:

“Vladimir Nabokov. Human writer from the last century. Best known for a smug little tale of foalcon.” He coughed on that last word. “Bastard was probably in love with her, too.”

“Underage filly?”

“Let’s just say she wasn’t on her way to earning her cutie mark, and leave it at that.”

That may have been the whole point for that bastard Humbert, who’d managed to convince himself — and maybe the girl — that there was something sweet and natural about their perverse relationship. It certainly fits with this guy’s worldview:

Ken Plummer is emeritus professor of sociology at Essex University, where he has an office and teaches courses, the most recent scheduled for last month. “The isolation, secrecy, guilt and anguish of many paedophiles,” he wrote in [1981’s] Perspectives on Paedophilia, “are not intrinsic to the phenomen[on] but are derived from the extreme social repression placed on minorities …”

“Help, help, I’m being repressed!”

“Paedophiles are told they are the seducers and rapists of children; they know their experiences are often loving and tender ones. They are told that children are pure and innocent, devoid of sexuality; they know both from their own experiences of childhood and from the children they meet that this is not the case.”

“Hey, they’re already despoiled. Fair game, you know what I mean?”

Actually, I think I do. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like what I think about it.

This is not, I hasten to add, a matter of universal agreement among the general run of tweedy academic pervs:

After a fierce battle in the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which produces it, a proposal to include hebephilia as a disorder in the new edition of the [DSM] has been defeated. The proposal arose because puberty in children has started ever earlier in recent decades and as a result, it was argued, the current definition of paedophilia — pre-pubertal sexual attraction — missed out too many young people.

Ray Blanchard, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who led the APA’s working group on the subject, said that unless some other way was found of encompassing hebephilia in the new manual, that was “tantamount to stating that the APA’s official position is that the sexual preference for early pubertal children is normal.”

Axes were duly presented for grinding:

Prof Blanchard was in turn criticised by a speaker at the Cambridge conference, Patrick Singy, of Union College, New York, who said hebephilia would be abused as a diagnosis to detain sex offenders as “mentally ill” under US “sexually violent predator” laws even after they had completed their sentences.

Because whatever else a kiddie-diddler might be, well, he certainly can’t be sick.

But perhaps the most controversial presentation of all was by Philip Tromovitch, a professor at Doshisha University in Japan, who stated in a presentation on the “prevalence of paedophilia” that the “majority of men are probably paedophiles and hebephiles” and that “paedophilic interest is normal and natural in human males.”

Come the revolution, the first ones with their backs up against the wall will be the idiots who claim that majority support legitimizes everything.

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Console the lonely

In fact, right on top of the console, if necessary:

Here’s a sobering statistic for you: according to this study, almost 16% of midwestern college students have had sex while driving (SWD), and nearly half did so while driving at speeds of 61-80 mph(!). And no, these numbers didn’t include masturbation. As you might guess, SWD was reported by more men than women, and usually consisted of oral sex, although 11% of SWD participants had actual intercourse. Amazingly, none of those surveyed reported having an accident, though 1.8% “nearly had a crash.” I guess there’s not much else to do during those long boring drives through the cornfields?

Well, yeah, but at least they’re not texting.

(Via Fark.)

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Burning not too bright

Meanwhile in Albany, the concern over Big Game grows:

State legislators in both houses have passed a bill banning people from posing for photos while hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers in New York state.

Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal explained that she introduced the legislation to increase safety at traveling circuses and county fairs that allow the public to get up close and personal with their big cats.

Which is a major problem in New York, what with, um, two tiger-related incidents at such exhibitions in the past ten years, suggesting that there might be ulterior motives for this measure:

But the Upper West Side Democrat acknowledges proudly that the bill would also destroy a trend now prevalent among users of dating apps — men snuggling with tigers in reckless attempts to look brave or cuddly or, even more implausibly, both in their dating-profile photos on online services like Tinder and OKCupid.

Remember when a woman could point and laugh, and that was the end of it? Now apparently she has to have the Assembly backing her up.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Something about unlimited support

There are actual alpha males, and then there are males who imagine that they’d be alpha if only they had [obviously absent characteristic]. I suspect this guy of being one of the latter:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why doesn't Bill Gates have a hotter wife?

To amplify:

I mean he’s a multi billion dollar inventor. Basically all the hottest women would want him. Why doesn’t he have a hotter wife and why have he never had one who is hotter?

Melinda Gates headshotThis assumes two things: that guys with multiple billions are as a matter of course expected to land someone in the Leggy Supermodel class, and that when they don’t do so, it’s a matter of interest to the rest of the world. It would never occur to this guy that Bill Gates might have won the heart of exactly the woman he wanted.

Besides, as anyone who’s ever worked at Microsoft undoubtedly knows by now, you can’t force an upgrade on someone without causing major heartbreak, or at least a major pain in the hindquarters.

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One or two lumps?

Make it three, and keep your sexist remarks to yourself:

Sweetness is code for feminine. It’s code for not being able to handle “reality” and having to cover it up. Because people really need to read that much into a desire to eat or drink something that tastes good/actually listen to your palette when it says that you do or don’t like something.

There is an odd cult of masculinity around things that taste like shit and being able to eat things that taste like shit and/or hurt you when you eat them (cinnamon challenge anyone?). Oddly, putting oneself in situations that require pain or discomfort is seen as good and manly and powerful and strong, whereas actually doing things you enjoy is seen as girly (unless it’s eating a steak which gets a pass because killing things and eating their flesh is also manly). And for that reason, eating things that are sweet is considered feminine. It’s delicate, because only weak ladies feel the need to consume things that go down easy.

I have long suspected that said “cult of masculinity” originally coalesced around a group of guys who couldn’t tell you which end of a stick of butter you shove into the toaster. (How big this group is, I’m not sure, though it’s surely not insubstantial.) By general cultural agreement, the Confirmed Bachelor lives on an indiscriminate diet rivaled only by the jackal’s, which explains that part of his beer belly that isn’t actually attributable to beer. But this, too, is a stereotype.

Food is an important cultural signifier. We use it to communicate our values (see veganism and vegetarianism), to communicate our in-groups (through ethnic food or family traditions), to bond with each other (group meals), and to communicate how we fit into the world (eating disorders are a good example of this, but many people choose their food to signify what kind of a person they are). We don’t often look to food consciously as a way to reveal our prejudices or assumptions, but it’s woven into every day of our lives (even when we’re not eating it).

Or, as I once said:

Nobody eats arugula for the taste. It’s a status indicator, pure and simple. If you could get it in a salad at Wendy’s, no one would pay however many dollars a pound for it.

Why, yes, I think I will have another strawberry daiquiri.

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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Here agenda, there agenda

Jack Baruth on that Elliot Rodger thing:

The media wants to use the Elliot Rodger thing to beat up on the manosphere, because they despise the manosphere. Female Twitter users want to use the Elliot Rodger thing to let their friendzone beta orbiter male friends know, in no uncertain terms, that they consider them to be borderline rapists. Nobody’s tagging George Clooney or Channing Tatum in these posts, because most of these woman would welcome whatever attention George Clooney or Channing Tatum threw at them, for the same reason that I wouldn’t be offended by anything Kate Winslet said to me in person, as long as it was Kate Winslet talking to me in person.

Kate: You’re easily the least attractive man I’ve ever met.

Jack: Couldn’t agree more. Why don’t we have dinner and you can tell me what exactly about me is so repulsive. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Then again, from my first post on the subject: “I am George Farking Clooney next to this guy.”

Then again again, Kate Winslet has never said a word to me, and I operate under the assumption that she’s not going to.

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Just felt right

So Erin Palette was in the shower — no, I wasn’t watching her, get your mind out of the gutter — and this question popped into her head:

Given that humans are primarily a visual species, and that sexual attraction is at least partially based on aesthetics — I have to wonder if bisexuality and/or asexuality is more common among the blind.

I don’t really expect an answer, but I’d be thrilled if someone actually knew something about this.

I don’t know anything about this, to be sure, so I’m tossing it up over here to see what you guys think.

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