Archive for Table for One

Purely by coincidence

I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual about this sales pitch:

Last 10X Longer In Bed
It has never felt so good

And they’d like you to think that “10X” is being cautious, because:

I took this on Valentines Day and went from lasting 2 minutes to over 35.

So: a factor of seventeen, then?

I wouldn’t have noticed it at all, in fact, except for the minor detail that the bogus name they conjured up for the sender accidentally duplicated the name of someone I never actually took to bed — but might have wanted to.

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You’re doing it right

Maybe. I wouldn’t know.

Herein, number-one grandson — 15 last November, this tall for at least four years now — has approached his ladylove bearing gifts: brownies, and a bear.

Nick Havlik and his girlfriend

She seems pleased.

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The worst unlaid plans

It’s like, how much more blue could this guy’s nads be? And the answer is none. None more blue:

You all probably have a lot of questions and in an ideal world I would be able to answer them all. However the risks involved in providing a “Q&A session” before death is clearly too high as the medical profession always values “quantity of life” over “quality of life.” It appears that the prevailing ethos is to keep individuals in a state of continual suffering rather than allow an individual choose to die. Hence the huge resistance to euthanasia.

The reason for my death is simple. I have concluded that in the realm of dating and relationships the primary characteristics required for men are as follows.

  • Height: above 5ft10
  • Race: huge bias towards caucasian and black
  • Wealth: or other manifestation of power

From my observations and research it appears that you need two of the three criteria for success with very few exceptions. What does this mean it means that it’s “game over” for me. By choosing to depart early, all I am doing is to accelerate the process of natural selection whilst saving myself a great deal of long term pain in the process.

A single evolutionary dead end does not constitute an acceleration of natural selection.

Still, I’m a quarter-century older than this chap is was, I manage two of the three criteria with relative ease — and by now we all know how amazingly successful I am with the babes.

After reading some of his, um, research, I am forced to conclude that most of his problems stemmed from being totally full of crap, which in my experience is not often a selling point.

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Young blood

I’d be lying if I said I never had thoughts like this — and the least you can do is let me fib a bit, right?

You’re maybe twenty-seven years old now and you’ve done nothing worth remembering or noting in your life besides food and travel. Your opinions on everything, such as they are, are sourced directly from your friends and/or Jon Stewart. At an age when our ancestors had already conquered nations or produced great art or invented world-changing ideas, you’re still figuring out who you are and what you’re going to do. You live in an overpriced apartment, you go to LA Fitness, you’re out of money at the end of the month, you have no clear recollection of most of your days.

And yet, you’re so beautiful. You’re like the most gorgeous and alluring woman I ever loved in college, but turned up two more notches, an AMG Black Series version of my favorite physiological features, constructed from the unstable isotopes of my deepest fantasies and presented to me on a thoroughly steam-covered phone screen, your tongue poking flirty between your saucy lips. I want to put you in the passenger seat of a Ferrari 458 Speciale and take you around VIR Full Course for ten laps before dragging you into the women’s restroom and bruising the front of your hipbones on a sink. I want to run into the ocean holding your hand and float on the six-foot waves with you while we laugh like children sharing a secret. I want to wake up next to you twenty years from now, startled by our mutual favorite ringtone because our son is calling home from his first week at Yale.

Except that I know it wouldn’t be like that.

Of course it wouldn’t.

What’s most remarkable about this, I think, is the time it takes to concoct a fantasy at this level: 400, maybe 500 milliseconds for it to be conceived, and then a couple of seconds for the narrative to unspool before the whole thing unravels in a whirlwind of 70 percent lust, 30 percent self-loathing. (Your percentage may vary.)

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A whole new class of victims

There are apparently people who sit alone in the dark of night, muttering to themselves: “God damn it, I want to be a victim too!” Because, you know, sympathy. And federal programs that have dollars attached.

There can be no other explanation for this:

According to Bella DePaulo and Rachel Buddeberg, the singles activists and authors who wrote a Truthout.org piece titled “Do You, Married Person, Take These Unearned Privileges, for Better or for Better?” discrimination against single people is a problem so huge that it’s actually “jarring” that our culture doesn’t talk about it the way it talks about racism and sexism.

The piece defines “singlism” as “the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination against people who are not married” and “marital privilege” as “the unearned advantages that benefit those who are married,” an “emotional privilege” where “other people express happiness for people who marry but pity for those who stay single.”

“Someone is happier than I am, and it can’t possibly be my fault.”

And apparently there are Jim and Sheryl Crow(e) laws thwarting their happiness:

One example: Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, married workers can take time off to care for their spouse, but single people can’t take time off to care for a person “just as important to them, such as a sibling or close friend.” Note that they did not just describe this as “unfair,” but specifically as “discrimination.”

I surmise that there is a world-wide shortage of big-girl and/or big-boy pants, as no one — no one in the spotlight, anyway — seems to be able to put them on anymore.

Lileks observes:

[E]veryone and every state and every condition needs to be celebrated, or it is not validated; if it is not validated, it is marginalized. If it is marginalized, it is oppressed. If it is oppressed, it is virtuous. Then again, if it’s celebrated, it is virtuous as well. So either way you’re covered.

I think we can just about retire the word “marginalized”: with everyone and his half-sister’s llama crowding into the margins in search of that sweet, sweet victimhood, those of us who stay the hell off the edge are slowly becoming official nonpersons. Obviously it’s discrimination.

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Comfort is for closers

“If you liked it,” declared Beyoncé, “then you should have put a ring on it.” It’s a sentiment Robert Stacy McCain can appreciate, having observed some very likable types who were nonetheless ringless:

They kept wasting time in “relationships” with men who refused to close the deal. These romantic involvements would last anywhere from a few months to several years, and it was always — always — the guy’s aversion to a permanent commitment that prevented these relationships from becoming marriages. The real problem, it seems to me, is not merely the widespread phenomenon of “Peter Pan Syndrome,” but that (a) young women unwittingly enable such male immaturity because (b) they miscalculate the economics of love, and therefore (c) they waste one of a woman’s most valuable resources, her youth.

How this works:

If you graduate college at 22, you have eight years before you turn 30. Those are very valuable years. However smart, beautiful and nice she may be, a woman is more attractive to the average male when she’s 22 than when she’s 30. You can complain that this double standard that places a premium on female youthfulness is unfair, but you can’t avoid the fact that it is nevertheless real. A woman who is very attractive may think she can defy the odds and that it will be no problem for her to find Mister Right when she’s 30, but what if she’s wrong? She fritters away her 20s in a series of pointless relationships — six months with this guy, two years with that guy, etc. — and before she even notices the pattern, the clock is ticking down.

Similarly, the smart, beautiful and nice Garfunkel and Oates [NSFW]:

Of course, anything I would have to say on the subject would be totally irrelevant.

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Romantic illusions made simple

Yours truly, from November 2013:

It is said that you will be perceived as much more desirable if you are perceived as taken. I’ve never noticed any such thing, but then it’s been rather a long time — about half a lifetime — since I’ve been taken.

At the time, there was the announcement of an app that would create that perception. That app is now a reality:

Invisible Girlfriend and Invisible Boyfriend offer one way of dealing with this situation. The apps promise to “give you real-world and social proof that you’re in a relationship — even if you’re not — so you can get back to living life on your own terms.” Plainly put, these apps, created by Matthew Homann and Kyle Tabor, help you lie about being in a relationship by providing believable social proof of significant others in the form of crowdsourced selfies, text messages, voice mails and even written notes.

If you’re already horrified, this may not change your mind:

Having an imaginary relationship can be a lot easier than explaining why you’re not in a real one. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to explain to bosses and friends why I’m not bringing a date to weddings, parties, company picnics and holiday events.

It’s not like I don’t want to find true love. But I have stuff to do. I like my freedom. I want to be in charge of the TV. My dog is usually first priority. And well, dating is a lot of work. I’m cool with being single. But after a while, it gets tiring to tell your mom that grandkids won’t be happening soon or ask your well-meaning friends to stop setting you up on blind dates with their newly divorced pals or friends who clearly just want a casual bed buddy. Sometimes white lies make everyone involved a little happier than the truth does.

There is a survey on that page — “Would you ever date an imaginary girlfriend/boyfriend?” — and as of last night, only 6 percent of respondents said they would. Then again, this is 5 percent higher than it was in the first hour after that report was published. (Disclosure: I follow author Bonnie Burton — @bonniegrrl — on Twitter, and she tweeted it the moment it went up.) Seventy-five percent said No, and I’m pretty sure at least some of them really mean it.

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This guy’s the limit

Erin Palette talks about guys, and she means to include herself:

One guy is always male. (Which isn’t surprising, since Guy has been a man’s name for over a thousand years.) Therefore it follows that if someone says “It’s a guy thing” or “Guys’ night out” you know with 100% certainty that said guys are male.

But I have seen a woman address a group made up entirely of women with “Hi guys!” in which case those guys are now 100% female. However, even though a group of women can be called “guys”, I have never seen that group subdivided such that one woman would be a “guy”, regardless of how logical that might be.

This isn’t exactly egalitarian: except in very specific circumstances, groups of men are not referred to as “girls.” Still, it’s an interesting evolution of the language:

Many women feel that the word “mankind” is sexist when used to refer to all humanity, but I have yet to see any woman seriously object to “guys” even when used in nearly the same way.

I don’t really have a point to this other than Huh. A distinctly gendered noun has become a gender-neutral collective through cultural drift.

Now I wonder what the non-binary among us would think about this.

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Everywhere appeal

My younger brother (48 today), perhaps half in jest, is trying to crowdfund a vacation. I thought the idea was nutty, but I threw in a few dollars, on the basis that it might be easier for someone else to do so if there’s already something in the kitty.

Now comes this chap who’d like you to pay for his dates:

My name is Tom and I’m a 26-year-old hopeless sarcastic romantic.

I like reading as much as going out with friends, I find thunderstorms relaxing to listen to and can easily lose myself in a good film. I like sitting in busy cafes writing poetry and people watching. The problem is I don’t have a lady/partner in crime/personal femme fatale to share all this with me, teach me new things and put me in my place every now and again.

Tom calculates that it will take 13 dates to find The One, and so he’s asking for £1300. At this writing, eight contributors have anted up £222.

Update, 26 January: Things are not going well for poor Tom.

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Seemingly made for each other

I remembered this passage by Cynthia Heimel yesterday, describing a female archetype she calls the Little Girl:

Pink is her wardrobe’s middle name. Too much pink, in fact, is not enough. She is inordinately fond of pinafores and puffy sleeves, and has several pairs of anklets, many of them embroidered with teensy, darling little cornflowers.

And on (and on) from there, until:

What the Little Girl is projecting is that she’s still in the sandbox and therefore not responsible for anything. She spends most of her time looking for someone to take care of her, and although she can usually change a fuse faster than any truck driver, she’s quick to disguise that knowledge.

Doesn’t sound like anyone I know. But she needn’t go unloved:

Her ardent admirer is the Little Boy. He’ll realize that at last he’s found his dream girl. They’ll go to the zoo and cry over the baby polar bear. They’ll write the New Wave version of Peter Pan. They’ll play hopscotch. As a couple, no one will be able to stand them.

I played a pretty mean game of hopscotch in my day, but a Little Boy I’m not.

Heimel wrote that — it’s in her book Sex Tips for Girls — around 30 years ago. Not quite 30 hours ago, this item appeared in my tweetstream (tweets are protected, so no ID):

Grown women who wear Hello Kitty should not be surprised if the men who pursue them still live at home & sleep on Spiderman sheets.

So little we’ve changed.

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Warmth vs. intercoolers

This guy thinks he has a dilemma:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: If I have to buy a sports or super car like Maseratis, Porsches, Ferraris or Lamborghinis, should I sacrifice dating/marriage?

He goes on:

I’ve always wanted a nice european car and its been my dream for quite a while. I was told the car is financially cheaper than the woman. So if I wanted a nice super car like a Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, Porsche 911 Turbo S or a Audi R8 5.2 V10, maybe even a Lexus LFA. Should I sacrifice on women and children, get a good education and save as much as possible for 15 years before buying my dream car?

Not to worry. The process is automatic: once a woman finds out you’re more interested in a car than in her, she will scorch the pavement for a quarter-mile just to get away from you.

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Deep heeling

No way am I going to put up a picture of a sex toy for foot fetishists with the unappealing name “vajankle.” [Link should be considered NSFW.]

Not gonna happen. I will, however, quote one paragraph from the story:

This level of sexy silicone foot times doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the vajankle costs a toe-curling $179 (approximately £118).

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

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As distinguished from “card-carrying”

This is a press release, of course, and like most of its ilk, it assumes that those who read it will be overly impressed by it. Include me out:

Popular nudist dating site NudistDatingSites.net recently launched a new feature named “Certified Nudist.” This feature is similar to the verification option available on most dating sites.

Translation: “We’re adding a feature that everyone else already has.”

Now this next bit seems indisputable, which is probably why it was buried in the third graf:

Whilst online dating has certainly made it convenient for users to find their ideal match from the convenience of their couch, it has also given rise to several issues. “A lot of people confuse nudism with exhibitionism. They fail to understand the core idea behind nudism and look at it as a way to find a sex partner. When such people get onto nudist dating sites, it creates inconvenience for genuine nudists,” said psychologist Pauline Brown.

I am, I admit, curious about what goes into this “verification” program, because surely it has to be more than this:

The primary motive behind the launch of this feature is to differentiate a genuine user from a scammer. In order to become a certified nudist on this website, a member would have to put up their real photo. On the other hand, if the profile belongs to a couple, both the individuals need to be present in the photograph.

This invites a couple of obvious questions:

  • What’s to stop a scammer from disrobing?
  • If couples are allowed on a dating site, should we assume that either swinging or polyamory are on the agenda?

Disclosure: Once upon a time, I was a member of a social network aimed at this subculture; it folded after a couple of years. They didn’t require photos, but photos were, let us say, strongly encouraged.

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Love is grand, divorce is several grand

I suppose that at first it really didn’t sink in that Harold Hamm, big wheel at Continental Resources downtown, offered his ex-wife a divorce settlement of just under a billion dollars; anything over about fifty thou strains my comprehension. And I’ve certainly never written a check anywhere close to that, let alone to this:

Settlement check from Harold Hamm

This was the exact amount of the settlement specified by the court in granting the divorce, but she says it’s inadequate:

[Sue Ann] Arnall, a former Continental executive who was married to Hamm for 26 years, contends that her award of around $1 billion in cash and assets was inadequate and allowed Hamm to keep the lion’s share of a fortune her lawyers valued as high as $18 billion.

Harold Hamm had already paid his former wife more than $20 million during the divorce proceedings.

Hamm’s appeal contends that the $1 billion award was too steep. Hamm has lost billions tied to the value of his 68 percent stake in Continental in recent months, which his legal team blames on the sharp fall in oil prices.

Um, technically “the lion’s share” is the whole ball of wax, lions being generally unwilling to share. And no doubt Hamm’s lost a fair chunk of change in the current oil bust: market cap for CLR has dropped to about $12 billion, which means Hamm’s equity in the company is a hair over $8 billion. Still, were someone to hand me a check for a billion dollars, I don’t think I’d fuss — once it cleared, anyway.

And frankly, I think it’s weird to see that sum literally written out.

Update, 8 January: She’s changed her mind and will take the $974 million.

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Mr. Lonely 2.0

Some will see this with Brianna Wu’s name on it, and assume she’s trying to trash some guy. From the looks of it, though, he’s done a pretty good job of trashing himself:

Let’s face it, calling your target market “stupid whores” is not likely to result in any sales, if you know what I mean.

Neither Chad nor Tyrone could be enticed into leaving a comment; I assume they’re out on dates.

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Alternate choices

She loves me; she loves me not. It’s a lot easier for me to believe the latter.

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Thwarted expectations

A chap gets into the press pool covering a Victoria’s Secret event, and discovers that it’s not quite the palace of pulchritude he anticipated:

[M]any models, up close, are not actually hot. I know that sounds crazy. But in person, a lot of the VS models were more freakish than sexy. I am an average-sized fellow, so they all loomed over me in an intimidating fashion. Their limbs were like toothpicks, seemingly in danger of snapping at any given moment. They moved like gangly baby horses that were too leggy for their own bodies. And while some of these ladies indeed had lovely faces, many among them had mugs of such extreme angles and proportions that they ceased to be attractive — cheekbones cantilevering so far afield that they almost seemed like face-wings. I shudder picturing it now. I’m more attracted to regular, cute gals who are 5’4″ and have round, apple cheeks. Somehow, under the lights and in front of the camera, it all works for the supermodels. But up close, under fluorescents, not so much.

This is why you watch these things at a distance. Too close, and the illusions are swept away.

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Because seamen

While I can’t say this is surprising, actually, it still stings a bit:

The US Navy has launched an investigation into allegations that some of the first female sailors to serve on submarines were secretly videotaped in the shower by a male serviceman.

According to an incident report written last month, the unsuspecting women were recorded bathing and changing aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming. A 24-year-old second class petty officer allegedly made the videos over the past year and distributed them among his male colleagues.

Um, you had orders, Mister, and one of those orders is “Do not behave like a cretinous goon.”

The Navy, which had grave doubts about this whole women-on-board business, is almost certainly not feeling any better about it now.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Unevenly matched

After noting in a post that Reese Witherspoon is threatening to become the next Meryl Streep, Robert Stacy McCain explains the apparently unfortunate dynamic at work:

Here’s the thing about Out of Africa: The girls get to see Robert Redford, one of the most handsome leading men in cinematic history. The guys get … Meryl Streep.

You see what I’m talking about? It’s like every Barbra Streisand movie, ever.

There’s this feminist fantasy film formula where the ugly duckling is paired with the impossibly handsome man. Somehow, with her feisty ways and her quirky sense of humor, she manages to make this sexy hunk of a man fall passionately in love with her. It’s basically Chicken Soup for the Unattractive Girl’s Soul, except it’s toxic.

This kind of fantasy encourages unrealistic romantic aspirations in quite the same way as all those movies where the clumsy schlub magically lands the Playboy Centerfold Dream Girl.

As a clumsy schlub in my own right, I must point out that Streisand actually pulled it off, in Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? Granted, this was 42 years ago, and she was playing opposite Ryan O’Neal, a large sheet of drywall, but nonetheless, she pulled it off. It’s possible to make a case for The Way We Were, with Redford, but I think Arthur Laurents’ screenplay was always more of a political piece than a love story, and the film suffers as a result.

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The usual blondishments

Actually, we don’t know her hair color, but I assume by default that every word of this spam is bogus:

I was browsing and saw your profile and just had to contact you

This might seem crazy but I thought you were cute and have to know if you are dating anyone?

Even if you are.. we should chat because I think I am someone you could have a good time with.

Lets chat on facebook and Ill tell you more. I can show you some of my latest photos. I think you will really like what you see.

Hit me up on messenger soon and lets hookup.

You can get my profile and contact details here.

Chat soon

xoxo Katie

There follows, concealed by text color if I were dumb enough to read HTML mail, about twenty lines of pure word salad. “Here” yields up an address at privatelymessage.me.

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Here a nibble

Susan Boyle, asked if she’d consider online dating, came back with this:

“Are you having a laugh? Knowing my luck I’d go out on a date and you’d find my limbs scattered around various Blackburn dustbins! I believe in letting things happen naturally and not shopping for a man on the Internet. If my soulmate is out there then I will find him but it won’t be on a computer.”

That was two years ago. And apparently the old-fashioned way still sort of works:

“I met a nice guy in America, who shall remain nameless. All I’ll say is he’s a doctor from Connecticut… It’s early days but we enjoy each other’s company.

“I met him at the Safety Harbor Resort in Clearwater, Florida, where I had a concert. We just got talking in the hotel and I thought he seemed friendly enough. He wasn’t a fan but he knew who I was. He invited me out for lunch the next day.

“We had a nice chat and spoke about lots of things including our careers. He was the perfect gentleman and even paid the bill. Afterwards we exchanged details.”

Too early to bring out that “soulmate” business, to be sure; but for someone who dates slightly less often than I do, this is the stuff of hope. Hope, incidentally, is the title of her newest album.

For the “Who’d go out with someone who looks like that?” crowd, this is what happened when Harper’s Bazaar got hold of her a few years back:

Susan Boyle following a Harper's Bazaar makeover in 2009

Apparently this isn’t the first time she’s been approached, but this is the first time I can remember that she actually talked about such things.

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Dreamy redefined

Somewhere, where romantic and whimsical collide, you’ll find this:

While the screen is taken up by Zooey and a very palpable nothingness, it would mean nothing without the music, and as I commented on YouTube: “If there’s ever a reason to make a movie about me (and there probably isn’t), I want M. Ward on the soundtrack.”

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Discreet petite

This wandered into my email box:

The #1 rule if you’re having an affair

Never do it with a single woman. Instead, date a married woman who has just as much reason to keep it a secret as you do.

(“Me and Mrs. Jones,” explained Billy Paul.)

Why did I get this?

You are receiving this message because you opted in to *insert web address of list*

Apparently Cyprus, whence this came, is not up on the latest deceptive techniques — which can’t possibly help them selling a “service” like this.

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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.
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Message ID #3184324
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Date: 10-16-14.
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Username:  chaz@dustbury.com 
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Password:   [redacted]
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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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