Archive for Table for One

Ay, there’s the scrub

A scrub, TLC explained, 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.” Photographer Hannah Price seems to have encountered a few:

The Morning News: How did the series begin?

Hannah Price: I grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., and never experienced men publicly expressing their sexual interest in me till I moved to Philadelphia. At the time it was an unusual experience and threw me off guard.

TMN: Describe the moment when you turn your camera on the guy.

HP: Once a guy catcalls me, depending on the situation, I would either candidly take their photograph or walk up to them and ask if I can take their photograph. They usually agree and we talk about our lives as I make their portrait.

So no hard feelings, evidently. And this sounds downright benign:

HP: I always make sure the lighting and composition is as beautiful as possible and try and capture what is interesting about the person.

Artist first, irritated person second. Not everyone can pull off something like that.

(Via this Rob Boone tweet.)

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I don’t know, I’ve never furfled

There is now, for some inscrutable reason, an online-dating site for pony fans:

BronyMate is a dating site and social network for the Brony community who are fans of the cartoon show My Little Pony (MLP).

Now the last time anypony collected statistics on the matter, the fandom was about 80 percent male and 75 percent unattached — and about 25 percent INTJ. To me, this looks like a catastrophe waiting to happen. (Then again, almost anything involving dating looks to me like a catastrophe waiting to happen.)

Interestingly, at least to me, their blog link, for the moment, redirects to the blog of FurFling, an existing dating site for furries. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I probably should have looked over their questionnaire, just to see if they asked “Do you even yiff?”

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Already settled

I don’t know whether to chortle in my Schadenfreude or cry in my beer [warning: autostart video]:

[A] study conducted by Siemens Festival Nights found that as many as 73 percent of people surveyed say they are “making do” in their relationship because their true love got away.

“The ‘making do’ part is sad, in the sense of, we’re not really tapped into, ‘Why are we in this, what are we looking for long term, and what do I really desire?’” said relationship expert Kavita Patel.

Patel said people settle for many reasons from fear of being alone to wanting security and comfort with another person — anyone.

“Well, it’s better to be with somebody than nobody — I think that comes up for people,” Patel said.

What’s worse, 17 percent of respondents said they met their soul mates when it was too late — after they were already paired off or married.

That any-port-in-a-storm business holds true, I think, only if there’s an actual storm; turning a certain age [nsfw audio], for instance, is not necessarily sufficiently scary.

And besides, this is buried at the bottom of the story:

The study, of 2,000 people in London, also found that 75 percent of adults say their definition of love changes as they get older.

Well, no flipping wonder you’re dissatisfied.

(Via Fark.)

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Stuck up says what?

There’s almost enough material on this site to enable me to begin four out of five posts with a quote from the archives, as I’m doing here:

Everybody plays the fool sometimes, as Cuba Gooding, Sr. used to say, but it was Woody Allen who played the Fool in Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, and who, faced with a directive from his father’s ghost to seek sexual favors from Her Majesty the Queen, sputtered, “I can’t screw above my station!”

This is one of the few times in my existence I’ve actually empathized with a Woody Allen character; I assume by default that anyone who appears on my radar is out of my league, or at least in the wrong conference.

Now: is it a problem if they assume they’re out of my league? Jennifer, citing, among other cases, my sort-of-defense of the so-superior Kate Mulvey, contends that yes, it is a problem:

You know, if you were half as clever as you think you are, you’d realize that it’s just plain rude to flaunt your perceived superiority and belittle your date. They aren’t dumping you because of your mind, they are dumping you because of your caustic personality. I promise you, you are not smarter than every man out there. It’s just that those men are smart enough not to date a self-important, narcissistic bitch. You see, intelligent, confident women don’t need to wear their superiority like some kind of show-girl’s headdress. Nor do they need to tear people down to feel better about themselves.

Cue Lehrer’s Masochism Tango: clearly they’re getting some dates.

And I’ve defended this type before:

At the very least, she’s upfront about what she has to offer, and it’s up to you to decide whether she matches your particular priorities; rather a lot of folks hide their light under a bushel. (Ask me about my grain elevator.) She doesn’t happen to hit mine especially well, as it happens, but that’s hardly a reason to criticize someone. And while I tend to be wary of an elevated sense of self — rather a lot of people have defined themselves as Good while doing their best to hide from the advance of Evil — I suspect she’s closer to the Ayn Rand side of the spectrum, where love and romance are transactions like any other, and hey, it’s a tough market out there. Besides, I’m older than her target age group, and I suspect that the clash of dissimilar libidos would result in either heartbreak or heart attack, neither of which is on my list of Desired Outcomes. Still, I am a firm believer in holding out for what you want, and I can’t fault her for doing the same. Bottom line: I think I’d like her; I have no reason to think we ought to be dating.

But hey, that’s just me. Your mileage may vary. And my interest in these matters is, I remind you, purely academic.

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The boys club

Nitasha Tiku wrote a piece in Valleywag last month titled “This Is Why There Aren’t Enough Women In Tech,” and attached this simulated Craigslist ad as a comment and/or illustration:

Socially crippled SWM geek, early 20′s to 30′s, living in tech bubble, seeking SWF or SWA (fetish) willing to work in tech startup only so long as they can stroke my ego, reinforce my sense of superiority (to make up for my high school emasculation) and stay in the background, except to be sexually harassed at my discretion for the amusement of my brogrammers. Must be potentially available for sex 24/7 even if that will never, ever happen, be fired without cause when you’ve outlived your usefulness and/or rejected all my sexual advances and/or get too bitchy/put me in my place (NDA includes clause not to sue for sexual harassment). My interests include long sessions coding (you will not see me at home, ever, unless it’s for sex—Do you want to have sex?), wearing Google Glasses in public, Magic, the Gathering, video games, and actually (not ironically) commenting on Google+. Nothing else. (What else is there?) I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a real sunset or taken a walk on the beach (that is what Google is for), so I’m a little pale. I’m deeply concerned with your looks (must be at least a 5, as someday I’ll be rich (really) and need a girlfriend but not more than a 7, as I want to at least think that you’re sexually accessible even if you’re not) and your personality (independent, smart, strong women need not apply) must be sufficiently submissive to take the backseat behind me during any work or social related functions. Love libertarians, so long as it echoes my vaguely thought out philosophy to get rich quick at any cost.

Interested? Drop me a line on IRC (you know how to use that, right?). Send me your (full body) pics.

And I thought I was “difficult.”

After thirty-five years in some form or other of IT, I am persuaded that this perhaps-composite chap lacks the one characteristic most desperately needed in the field: the ability to tell when you’re full of crap, and to adjust accordingly.

He will die alone and unhappy — but probably not quickly.

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So superior

Is she too good for me? Perhaps she thinks she is.

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Almost missed a stereotype there

Usually I screen-print Y!A stuff, but this is a bit long and I’d prefer the text to be searchable, Just In Case.

The question: “Is it weird to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?”

Short answer: Maybe. But here’s the rest of it:

I would prefer a woman to answer this.

I am a 21 year old male, but I am not overweight or jobless. I am worried however that it is weird for me to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don’t own toys or merchandise from the show. I take it as it is: an entertaining cartoon much like Bugs Bunny or Sponge-bob (before it started to suck). Will women think it’s weird if they find out? I try to hide that part of my life.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I do not obsess about the show or anything. If it is on, I watch it. But I don’t go out looking for a DVD collection.

Not being a woman, I’m not going to answer this poor fellow directly, but I’ll say this much:

(1) I can cite no instance where a woman who might have been interested in me suddenly lost interest after discovering my own involvement with pony — which, in most cases, takes about 45 seconds to a minute.

(2) Buy a plushie. It’s not a guaranteed key to her heart, but you might be able to wedge the door open.

Incidentally, one of the Office Babes (Senior Division) showed up yesterday in a pony T-shirt, and a Generation ThreeMLP:FiM is Generation Four — pony T-shirt, at that. There’s always the possibility that the object of your affections has already been assimilated into the herd.

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To the writer of romance stories

Which means, I suppose, that this is here primarily for my benefit:

Romance requires an obstacle, eroticism requires a trespass. Don’t bother looking that up, I came up with it. A story about two people hooking up at a bar has no romance in it, not because of the trashy aspects, but because there’s nothing for the lovers to overcome.

Which may be why, as Lisa Simpson insists, “romance is dead: it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece.”

So what we need would be more obstacles, right?

One time I hit the complete jackpot in that regard when I met a married woman who lived four hundred miles away and who hated my guts so much already she’d created fake accounts on a popular car forum for the sole purpose of slandering me. Oh yeah, plus she was a decade younger than I was and so medically depressed I continually worried she was going to jump out of her condo window. Talk about obstacles stacked on top of obstacles. The stage was definitely set for romance, although the resulting relationship was basically an Amtrak off the side of a mountain. Doesn’t matter. The journey, not the destination, and all that.

There is, I am assured, a thin line between love and hate. I figure I’m far too clumsy to be trusted anywhere in its vicinity.

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Some of those Immaterial Girls

For the last several days I have been deluged in bogus come-on messages, ostensibly from women with remarkably uncommon first names and no last names, all claiming addresses at Rocketmail, and all demanding highest priority. A sample subject line, from “Barbara”:

Fwd: Fwd:This place is overrun by bots. Let’s move to reddit.

As though these things would actually be forwarded twice. (And Reddit? Um, no.)

In the body of the message:

I’m still here waiting for you to verify so we can meet up.
Please dont take it personal I have to be careful these days.

click here to verify yourself now

This will work out if your not a creep like that other guy I met. I really hope your legit and I am sorry to be so paranoid but I’m being careful this time.

Prove to me your safe I’m waiting here. I attached a recent pic of myself as well. :)

The “click here” goes to something called ulust.com, which, if it’s anything like uhaul.com, implies that I don’t even need a companion in these matters. (See also “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “One More Minute”: “I’m stranded all alone in the gas station of love, and I have to use the self service pump.”)

The “recent pic” is named “mis_fotos_666.jpg”. Oh, yeah, I’m gonna click on that.

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Perhaps not entirely symbolic

The Love Tree

Says a real-estate agent of my acquaintance:

Story goes … everyone who has lived in this home has moved in single and moved out married. These two trees have intertwined as they have grown and are known collectively as the #lovetree.

I don’t know about you, but were I in the market right about now, and had I the wherewithal, that might almost be enough to get me to buy, all by itself. But that’s just the kind of doofus I am.

Besides, I know the houses in this neck of the woods, it’s a style I revere, and it’s an open house tomorrow (25 August).

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The take-charge woman

Libby Gelman-Waxner, inventor of contemporary feminism — she says so in “Hooked on Heroines” in Entertainment Weekly‘s double Fall Movie issue — definitely is an advocate for female strength:

In Sheryl [Sandberg]‘s book, she tells women to stop being so wishy-washy, and to demand leadership equality. I agree, and I once told my dear friend Stacy Schiff to march right into her boss’ office and say, “I may not be the best marketing analyst on the planet, but I’m still a whole bunch better than all of those drippy guys who work here.” I also suggested that whenever Stacy met a handsome, successful single man, she should tell him, “Look, buster, you’re obviously going to be threatened by the fact that I’m smarter and more capable than you, so unless you enjoy feeling emotionally castrated, get lost.” If a man is visibly aroused by this, he’s a keeper.

I admit to being amused, if not aroused, by this. Then again, I’ve been a Libby fan since — well, it’s been a long time:

Let’s face it, Jesus would have been the best husband of all time. He was gorgeous, he was incredibly compassionate, and he was a carpenter, so none of your cabinets would ever stick.

For sure.

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Quote of the week

There are somewhere around five million words on this site, and I suspect somewhere around a quarter of a million were expended on the tedious task of bewailing my Permanent Singleness. Then again, I am sufficiently self-aware to know why I’m in this state — should I need to identify the culprit, I need only pop open my wallet and look at my driver’s license — which perhaps makes me at least slightly better off than these characters described by Robert Stacy McCain:

[S]ome guys never quite figure this out, because they have never really evaluated themselves or women objectively. These guys psychologically separate women into two categories:

  1. Super-attractive women they really want to hump;
    and
  2. Normal women they might actually have a chance with.

Unrealistic expectations — and particularly the Barbie-doll fixation — inevitably produce disappointment, and guys who fall into that pattern tend to end up pathetically alone.

Before proceeding to our example of this phenomenon, let me explain something basic: By the time you are 25 or so, you have probably already dated the best-looking person you’ll ever date. True, there are late bloomers, people who were high-school losers who get their act together by the time they graduate college and suddenly discover that they are more attractive than they were as teenagers, but this late-bloomer effect is very unlikely to occur after age 25. So by the time a guy is in his mid-20s, if he has never dated an 8+, he’s a damned fool to keep dreaming that Cinderella/Barbie/Playboy model will stumble into his life.

Ain’t gonna happen, Jack. Get over it. Life is not fair.

You really should read the whole thing, which includes a grade-A (or at least Type A) object lesson. I note for record that my own selection criteria are at least as implausible; the difference, of course, is that I know it.

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Small-head thinking

“Mental illness,” said Hugo Schwyzer, “is a bitch.” Which is, I think, indisputably true. And to demonstrate it:

Hugo Schwyzer, the social sciences academic at Pasadena City College best known as the “porn professor,” tried to commit suicide [Thursday] night, he told the [L. A.] Weekly.

He was visiting his mother in the Monterey area, where he grew up, when it happened about 10 p.m., he said. He was placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, the professor said:

“I took an entire bottle of Klonopin,” he said. That’s a muscle relaxant and anti-anxiety drug.

Schwyzer said he’s physically OK but reiterated how the social media fallout from a sexting relationship with a sometime porn star and multiple affairs with women made his marriage “over” and sunk him into a deep depression.

The sexting relationship and the multiple affairs didn’t destroy his marriage, but Twitter did? Maybe I’ve been taking tweeting too lightly all these years.

The prof says Twitter and article comments roasting him as a woman hater and regurgitating a 15-year-old suicide attempt and attempted murder of a girlfriend have taken their toll.

Maybe it’s just me, but actually trying to kill a woman — well, I’m sorry, but that sounds like the very definition of hate to me. Sucks if that’s interfering with your love life, Prof.

And I’m with Tim Blair on this one: “Instead of Klonopin, he should try KFC. It seems to cheer up other Hugos.”

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The better half

Advice Goddess Amy Alkon, on the origin of the concept of “soulmates”:

The idea of soulmates actually traces back to Plato. He wrote about a “symposium” (ancient Greek for “kegger”) at which an apparently tanked Aristophanes claimed there were once three sexes — male, female, and this weird he/she thing, round like a soccer ball, with four hands, four feet, and two faces. According to Ari, humans got power-hungry and attacked the gods. The gods were pissed. They contemplated annihilating humanity with thunderbolts and then realized there’d be nobody left to leave them offerings. Zeus instead punished the humans by hacking the he/shes in two — male and female — and after Apollo reshaped them to look like we do now, the gods dispersed them, compelling them to forever be searching for their “other half.” Supposedly, those few who are lucky enough to find theirs spend the rest of their lives making googoo eyes at each other on a picnic blanket while all the other couples are taking turns sobbing into a pillow in marriage counseling or sex therapy.

Same old Zeus, trying his best to be a badass. Hera leads him around by the wang-dang-doodle, and everyone knows it.

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Night passages in treacherous waters

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Down in it

I once characterized myself as a practitioner of “self-defecating humor,” which I’m guessing Advice Goddess Amy Alkon would think is a load of crap:

Exactly how much of a self do you have to deprecate? Evolutionary psychologist Dr. Gil Greengross sees self-deprecating humor as a social version of conspicuous consumption (outlandish spending implying that a person has so much money, he could use packets of dollar bills for firewood.) Poking fun at yourself can suggest that you have so much personal and emotional capital that you not only don’t need to sweat to impress a woman, you can laugh at what a loser you are. (This works especially well if you’re a loser like George Clooney.)

Not much chance of that, I suspect.

[A]lthough some humorous self-condemnation can be fun, a constant barrage of it may make a woman’s ears try to coerce her arms and legs into a suicide pact. Also, it’s easy to fall into the habit of using humor as a force field so you never have to open up and get real. This tends not to go unnoticed or go over with the ladies.

For balance, I always try to condemn someone else, and given the state of the world at the moment, there’s always someone else at hand.

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Or so the research would indicate

I suspect this statement of being true:

“Among all respondents, 7.3% reported a pregnancy, although this was more common among females than males.” — Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

(This was Megan McArdle’s Fun Sentence of the Week last week.)

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Sometimes at sixteen you do this

Rebecca Black, apparently trying out the visage de canard, contemplates those mysterious creatures known as guys:

I am reasonably certain she will never be as confused about guys as I was about girls at that age.

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We hate your shoes

Well, not all of them, actually:

In a deeply useless survey conducted by CouponCodes4You — a real website conducting real surveys — non-scientists discovered that straight men hate your wedges. The site polled 2,103 American men aged 18 and over, “all of whom were currently in a relationship” (so they’re experts on how women should look?).

Better, I think, they should ask those of us who are not in a relationship and have no reason ever to expect to be: we’re a whole lot less biased.

Some of the numbers:

Respondents were initially asked if they ever noticed what type of shoes their partner wore, to which 79% said they did; while 12% admitted they only noticed “sometimes”.

When asked whether or not they would prefer to choose what type of shoes their partner wore outside of the house, 43% said they would, while the majority, 52%, said they wanted their partner to choose her own personal style. 5% admitted it depended on the event and situation. Furthermore, only 41% of men said that their partner had good taste when it came to personal shoe style, while 59% disagreed.

Now there have been shoes mentioned in this space that seem to have been designed by guys who had little regard for women’s tastes, but we won’t go there.

And then they broke it down by Quantitative Hatred:

1. Wedge shoes — 71%
2. Uggs — 67%
3. Crocs — 63%
4. Platforms — 58%
5. Flip flops — 55%

Either they quit counting at 10, or guys are obsessed with stilettos. Or both.

I admit I enjoyed this comment greatly:

Please, most men only notice two types of shoes: heels and not heels depending on how tall we look and how fast we complain because our feet hurt.

I’ve been complimented by men regarding my shoes, but for the love of Dior, none of them could tell the name of the style. This study is so stupid because [it] is another way to make women feel insecure about ANOTHER thing with their looks.

And I have reason to believe that at least some women are deeply suspicious of men who do know the styles — except, of course, for the Manolo, who can do no wrong.

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You are so beautiful

All I ask is that you simply accept it and let it go.

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Time to gamma up

The alphas of the world, of course, don’t worry about dating: partners come to them. For the rest of us, there’s this:

No one really wants to know how they’re perceived by strangers. Even if you say you do, you don’t. But if you’re a one-and-done online dater, perpetually stuck in the awkward phase, a candid look at how people judge you might actually help.

BetaDater, developed by an engineer and an economist, is an online program that sets you up on short dates, then sends you honest, anonymous feedback afterward.

I question that term “anonymous”: you’re set up with three people, and while you won’t know specifically which one sent what piece of feedback — you’re supposed to get three from each — it’s not likely to be an NSA-grade secret, either.

The BD report ostensibly:

  1. compares your self-perception to that of your dates’,
  2. reveals what areas you may be overestimating or even underestimating the quality of your first impression, and
  3. gives you the data you need to ask “do people see me as I see myself?”

Clearly I am doomed.

(Via this Will Truman tweet.)

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Pockets of cootie resistance

In my capacity as a person who knows some actual female gamers, I did manage to pick up on this:

Now I’m not a big fan of the “We Must Have Our Own Role Models!” shtick; but this woman got totally dumped on in the crudest and crassest manner possible, and I’m not a fan of that sort of thing at all.

Lara Croft was not available for comment.

Disclosure: I have purchased and played — and won at — exactly one game with a female protagonist. This, of course, was long before my plunge into the ponyverse.

(Via Fark.)

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You could have just asked

The Daily Mail comes up with another humdinger:

It won’t come as a surprise to most females that men mature later than women, but new research has pinpointed the exact age that boys mature completely as 43 — 11 whole years after women.

The study into the differences in maturity between genders revealed both men and women agree that males remain ‘immature’ well into their late 30s and early 40s. By contrast, the average age at which women mature is just 32.

Of course, your mileage may vary. I must, of course, point out that this particular study was paid for by the UK outpost of the television network Nickelodeon, which doesn’t exactly seek suave and sophisticated viewers.

And does this mean I should look for a mate 11 years my junior? I didn’t think so.

(Via Fark.)

Addendum: Now what could I possibly have done in my forty-third year to transform myself into a Mature Adult? Oh, yeah, right.

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Just short of impossible

Those of us with empty dance cards presumably should take heart from the story of Peter Backus:

In 2010, while a tutor at England’s University of Warwick, he wrote a research paper called “Why I Don’t Have A Girlfriend.” Its subtitle will, I know, make several of you swoon: “An application of the Drake Equation to love in the U.K.”

Frank Drake, of course, was looking, not for love, but for a way to jumpstart the discussion of possible extraterrestrial civilizations. Then again, if you’re sure there’s no one on this planet for you — but I’m getting ahead of myself:

As far as he was concerned, though, his chances of finding a loving partner were 1 in 285,000.

Which probability is, by definition, nonzero, but “infinitesimal” comes immediately to mind.

That said, you’ll want to know this:

Peter Backus is getting married. You will be wondering whether he has compromised his principles… “It was just a chance meeting, just a friend of a friend,” he told the Today Show.

So there you have it. As with so many things in life, thinking doesn’t help. Calculating will do nothing for you. The singularity will merely keep you single.

Still: 1/285,000? And to think I was complaining about 1/1238.

(Via this Danica McKellar tweet.)

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Troth unplightable

A decade or so ago, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead wrote a book called Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman, which prompted a discussion here. This topic, of course, is evergreen, and Jennifer’s expertise is at least as extensive as mine, if not more so:

I’ve been out of the dating scene for over 15 years. My insight comes from watching you people fumble through it.

Of course, a fumble inside the five-yard line is different from a fumble on a kickoff return, but the results are suboptimal either way.

Anyway, she has a very good discussion going, with comments ranging from quietly content to deeply bitter — and really, how could it be otherwise?

In lieu of a response from me, a purely fictional (of course) equine version, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Even the scars have a soundtrack

First we’ll start the music:

This is the story. There are times when I believe that the only way to avoid making the same mistake twice is to avoid making it once. But that’s not going to happen, is it?

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Sort of an April/May romance

There being a pertinent case in play — one’s 18, one’s 14Robert Stacy McCain offers this quote from the authorities:

“The idea is to protect people in that vulnerable group from people who are older, 18 and above,” said Bruce Colton, state attorney for Florida’s 19th circuit, which includes Indian River County and other parts of the Treasure Coast. “The statute specifically says that consent is not a defense.”

Colton said … this case exemplifies the purpose of the current law and added he would not support any effort to make consensual relationships among peers legal.

“There’s a big maturity difference between them,” he said. “You’re talking the difference between a senior in high school and a freshman in high school. That’s what the law is designed to protect.”

While I appreciate Mr Colton’s concern, I must note for the historical record that when I was a senior in high school, I was no more mature than the frosh.

(Then again, nothing happened. Nothing that violates any laws of Florida or, um, of South Carolina, anyway.)

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Return to Lackanooky Valley

It’s one thing to bewail the perceived emptiness of your life; it is quite another to demand a fucking subsidy.

Literally.

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Dorkestrations

Were you looking for college men with IQs in triple digits plus a dash of hawtness? Janie Jones laughs at your futile pursuit:

We don’t have hot young guys, we have spindly, acne-pocked geeks who desperately chug protein shakes hoping to someday have some mass on their lanky frames and look a little less like greasy-haired fuzzy-teethed nerds.

That was me circa 1970, except for the protein shakes. The grease receded nearly as quickly as my hairline. I did, however, succeed beyond everyone’s wildest expectations at the task of accumulating mass, to the extent that I eventually found it necessary to shed some of it.

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For the record, I am not short

Personal ad: bald, short, fat and ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite

This was a repeat winner from Criggo.com, which said: “He gets points for honesty.” I suspect that’s all he gets.

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