Archive for Table for One

Hardware adjustments required

This Quoran is quacked up: Can I be legally identified as a female to lower my car insurance rates?

I was going to mutter something untoward about genitalia, but fortunately, an actual insurance agent beat me to the punch:

If you are a man, asking that if you put down that you are a female, could you get rated as a woman? Possibly, but if you then have an accident, the company will probably say FRAUD, and not pay you for your claim (won’t stop them from paying the other party if you were guilty) until you paid them all of the BACK PREMIUMS.

I say possibly, because for instance, if you give me a Florida Driver’s license number, without the name of the driver, I CAN TELL WHETHER YOU ARE MALE OR FEMALE. A typical Florida License # looks like this X123–456–78–901–0. That 901 section tells me your Birthday AND whether you are Male or Female. Men’s birth dates are from 001 to 499 and Women’s birth dates run between 501 & 999.

So there is an EXCELLENT likelihood, that you won’t get away with it. OH, and when your Driver’s License Record comes in saying Gregory not Georgia, it might also tip off the insurance company.

Something fake-ID users in Florida need to consider, I guess. And now I’m curious, inasmuch as I have a real-life trans woman friend in Florida, and … never mind, we shouldn’t go there.

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I have long suspected that everyone’s definition is just a little bit different — and I’m not entirely sure I have one at all. Perhaps it’s just as well.

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I can’t get no

Whatever “progress” we’re making otherwise, true intimacy seems to be getting farther and farther away:

The tech-savvy children of modernity clearly have problems relating to the opposite sex, a phenomenon traced in part due to their immersion on social media and access to internet porn. As social media becomes increasingly pervasive, and algorithms more sophisticated, more people appear to be exchanging human contact for that of a machine. According to Amazon, half of the conversations with the company’s smart-home device Alexa are of non-utilitarian nature — groans about life, jokes, existential questions. The Institute for Creative Technologies suggests that people are less scared about self-disclosure when they believe they’re interacting with a virtual person, rather than a real one. “By 2022, it’s possible that your personal device will know more about your emotional state than your own family,” suggests Annette Zimmermann, research vice-president at the consulting company Gartner.

Am I the only one perturbed by the idea that Amazon is keeping track of these things?

Those who grew up in the shadow of Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb,” or amidst the wanton sexuality of the 1960s and 1970s, now confront an unimaginable future. There may be some good out of these trends — for the environment, reducing abuse of women and the threat of mass unemployment. But in the end the prospect of an ever more sexless, and family free, world seems a grim one, and slightly less than human.

Glenn Reynolds comments:

Well, machines get better every year. People are not showing similar rates of improvement. Indeed, there’s a good argument that the same society that’s giving us better machines is giving us worse people. And Ehrlich’s book was a lie, and an immensely destructive one.

Fortunately for Ehrlich and his assigns and heirs, Americans will always honor prophets of doom, so long as they’re not overtly Christian.

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Japan has incels

Only more so: not only do these fellows not date, sometimes they never leave their bedrooms.

At least there’s the chance of a happy ending.

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Erin Palette has posted six points which seem like they ought to be obvious:

Toxic masculinity does exist, although it’s nowhere near as pervasive nor as powerful as people think.

Toxic femininity also exists, and in greater concentrations than people are willing to admit. I’m prepared to argue this, just not here and now.

The existence of toxic masculinity does not mean that all masculinity is toxic and all men are abusers unless they prove otherwise.

The existence of toxic femininity does not mean that all femininity is toxic and all women are manipulative unless they prove otherwise.

Masculinity and femininity are gender expressions which exist outside of biological sex. It’s not only possible to for a man to be very feminine or a woman to be very masculine, I guarantee that you’ve met at least one of them in your lifetime.

So basically, “People can be toxic — which ought to come as no surprise to anyone — and how they express their toxicity is part of their gender expression.”

Britney Spears, at least, will tell you that toxicity is not necessarily a bad thing.

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The buck stopped there

I mean, this can get you in serious trouble:

Game warden Cannon Harrison probably wasn’t expecting to make his latest bust on a dating app. But that’s what happened after he matched with an Oklahoma woman on Bumble.

As they struck up an online conversation, the woman immediately shared that she had just killed a “bigo” buck — “obviously not knowing Cannon is a game warden,” wrote the Oklahoma Game Wardens in a Facebook post.


Harrison asked if she had shot the deer with a bow, as bow hunting is still legal in Oklahoma through mid-January. She said she didn’t want to discuss that, but Harrison innocently pressed further, prompting his match to reveal the details. She shared with him the location where she killed the deer and sent him several photos of the dead animal, including one in which she can be seen holding up its antlers.

In the process, the woman, whose name was not released, revealed to Harrison that she had committed two illegal acts — shooting the deer with a rifle outside of rifle season and using a spotlight at night to help her shoot the deer.

And from there, it got worse:

Oklahoma Game Wardens went to the property the next day. Further investigation showed the woman had committed a third illegal act — harvesting only the head and back-strap meat of the animal. The woman and an accomplice pleaded guilty and paid $2,400 in fines, according to the Tulsa World.

A “romantically challenged poacher,” quipped Peter Grant.

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Who else is there?

It is necessary not to take things like this too seriously, lest one become despondent:

And if not despondent, perhaps “enraged” will apply.

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I know the feeling

Tony LaHood admits to something I could admit to, but won’t:

I am an idiot in any situation involving a woman. One hundred percent of the time, I will follow a great pair of legs into hell (or a Mercedes dealership, as the case may be) with both eyes open.

Then again:

It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, I get to teeter on the edge of sanity for just a few moments and contemplate things that can’t possibly be, before the real world reasserts itself and gives me a dope-slap.

And, well, the circumstances were right: a sunnyish (for March) afternoon, traffic crawling at 25 mph, and in front of me, a beautiful (this is my delusion, and I say she’s beautiful, so back off) blonde in a Benz.

Not just any Benz, either; this was the SL55 AMG in Arrest Me Red, the first one of these I’ve seen in the city, and for a moment I had a flash of “Am I even allowed to drive around here?”

After about two blocks, I’d gotten to the point where we’d negotiated the prenup, and after two blocks more, we were flying to Stuttgart to pick up some AMG accessories Mercedes had unaccountably forgotten to include in the car’s $124,020 price.

She veered off after half a mile, which at 25 mph takes longer than you’d think, and I wound up a few blocks later inhaling the diesel fumes from a Metro Transit bus. Back to reality.

It always ends that way.

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She has a roof over her head

Which is better odds than you get with him:

A new report by the online loan marketplace LendingTree has found that single women own far more homes than their male counterparts. The study revealed that in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, single women are almost twice as likely to be homeowners as single men. Single women in New Orleans, for example, own 27 percent of all homes compared to only 15 percent for single men. Multiple cities boasted disparities of over 10 percent. Interestingly, there were no cities in which single men outpaced single women.

And if you know lots of single guys, you’re already nodding your head.

The decision to marry and have children has a profound impact on earnings. Though the average man makes more than the average woman, the disparity is reversed when looking at unmarried women versus unmarried men. Based on data compiled from 2,000 urban communities, one study found that the median salary for young, unmarried, childless women is about 8 percent higher than men with the same characteristics. Other cities experienced pay gaps in the double digits, sometimes reaching as high as 20 percent. Further research has shown that unmarried college-educated women between the ages of 40 and 64 earn an average of 17.5 percent more than their male peers.

And probably a better credit risk, I suspect, having spent rather a lot of time at the wrong end of FICO.

(Via Stephen Green.)

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A woman scorned

And apparently there’s a very good reason for this:

A woman accused of bombarding a man with 65,000 text messages after a single date is now believed to have sent more than twice that amount.

According to court documents obtained by the Arizona Republic, then 31-year-old Jaqueline Ades, of Phoenix, sent the victim more than 159,000 texts — many of them threatening — over a 10-month period starting in July 2017.

“I’d wear ur fascia n the top of ur skull n ur hands n feet,” one of the alleged texts read.

Another read, “I’d make sushi outta ur kidneys n chopsticks outta ur hand bones,” according to police.

That’s more than 500 texts a day.

Police noted in her arrest record that she showed signs of mental illness.

Well, duh.

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Pick her up just to say hello

So you saw this ravishing creature on the Mizzou campus and she barely comes up to your clavicle. Should you pursue? Hold that, Tiger:

Getting up the courage to ask someone out on a date can already be nerve-racking, but now that college campuses have completely gone off the deep end, that fear will be intensified.

Today’s crazy comes from — unsurprisingly — the University of Missouri, best known for torpedoing its enrollment rates after campus protests led a professor to threaten a student journalist. An official at Mizzou indicated during a deposition that a male student who was physically larger than the female student he asked out may have violated the school’s Title IX policy because his physical size gave him “power over her.”

Apart from the occasionally Deeply Troubled 350-pound Tumblrina, who exactly benefits from this?

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Something happens and I’m head over heels

Really, the title of this piece tells you more than you wanted to know: “Man set for world’s first head transplant cancels surgery after falling in love.”

That’s what it says:

A man who volunteered for the world’s first head transplant has cancelled the landmark surgery because he has a new girlfriend and “miracle” baby son.

Disabled Valery Spiridonov, 33, was ready to have his neck severed by Professor Sergio Canavero — dubbed “Dr Frankenstein” — and his head reattached to a new, healthy body.

But he has changed his mind after starting a family with new love Anastasia Panfilova.

Professor Canavero is now working in China where he has received funding for his research while Mr Spiridonov, who became world famous for his readiness to be decapitated for science, has found his own extraordinary new life.

The computer expert worked for two years with Dr Canavero but now accepts the doctor’s first attempts at the futuristic surgery will be on Chinese volunteers rather than him.

This, we are told, is the girlfriend:

Girlfriend of guy who was scheduled for a head transplant

Yeah, I think I’d even forget about that tonsillectomy.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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A sharp stick from the Eye

No, you can’t have severance. Not yours:

Leslie Moonves, the former boss of CBS, will not receive a $120m (£95m) severance package after an inquiry into alleged sexual misconduct.

The US broadcaster said it had found that were grounds to fire Mr Moonves “for cause” including his “willful and material misfeasance.”

Mr Moonves stepped down in September following fresh claims he had sexually harassed or assaulted six more women.

He said that the accusations made in The New Yorker magazine were untrue.

In a statement, CBS said Mr Moonves had failed to co-operate fully with the company’s investigation into the allegations against him.

It also said he had had violated company policy and was in breach of his employment contract and as a consequence he would not receive any severance payment from CBS.

Still unexplained: how Moonves could possibly have been bored by wife Julie Chen.

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A late arrival, one might say

A few days back, I wasted some time and space on the delusion held by some men to the effect that they think their junk is about to disappear. But weirder things than this actually happen:

Some children with a rare genetic condition appear female at birth but later develop a penis and testes around the time puberty begins. But what causes this to happen?

An article in BBC Magazine tells the story of some children in the Dominican Republic with this condition, who are known in the country as Guevedoces, which roughly translates to “penis at 12.” One child named Johnny was raised as a girl, but when he matured and neared puberty, he grew a penis and his testicles descended, according to the BBC.

Felicita apparently looked like any other girl until puberty kicked in. Enter Johnny.

Are these, then, trans men? After all, they were identified as female at birth. And I wonder if any of them decided, even after Mr. Johnson arrived, to continue to live as the girls they thought they were.

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Get down on Frey day

The award finally came:

Years after gaining notoriety for embellishing parts of his memoir A Million Little Pieces, the US author James Frey has a new notch in his bedpost: the 2018 bad sex in fiction award.

Seeing off competition from an all-male shortlist that included Haruki Murakami and the Man Booker prize-nominated Gerard Woodward, Frey won for his novel Katerina, a “fictional retelling” of a love affair the author started while on a hedonistic trip to France in the 1990s. The story follows Jay, a young American would-be writer, as he drinks and bonks his way around Paris, particularly with a Norwegian model named Katerina.

The award’s judges at the Literary Review said they had been swayed by several sex scenes in the novel, which include encounters in a car park and in the back of a taxi, but were especially convinced by an extended scene in a Paris bathroom between Jay and Katerina that features eight references to ejaculate.

You can read it at the link. I don’t think I want that stuff dripping all over the server.

Frey, who shot to fame with his 2004 memoir about his drug addiction, A Million Little Pieces, and later became even more famous when the book was proved to contain embellishments, has been nominated for the bad sex award before, in 2011 for his novel The Final Testament of the Holy Bible.

Heh. “Shot” to fame.

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Girl for hire

That title probably suggests something very obvious to you.

And you would be correct.

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Goody, goody gumdrops

Be it resolved:

I am not in a position to evaluate this claim. Fortunately, we have the 1910 Fruitgum Company to take it on:

Poor old Mr. Jensen was not available for comment.

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The singer of his dreams

Actual women, some men seem to have decided, are just too much trouble:

A Japanese man has married his virtual reality hologram this month during a ceremony in Tokyo.

Akihiko Kondo, 35, spent ¥2 million (£13645.50) on a formal ceremony at a Tokyo hall to Hatsune Miku, an animated 16-year-old hologram with saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails.

Mr Kondo’s mother, along with all of his relatives, refused an invitation to her only son’s wedding.

“I’ve always been in love with Miku-san,” he said, using a honorific that is commonly employed in Japan, even by friends. “I’ve been thinking about her every day,” he told AFP a week after the wedding.

Since March, Mr Kondo has been living with a moving, talking hologram of Miku that floats in a $2,800 desktop device.

You’ve almost certainly heard the young lady’s voice before; this is perhaps her biggest hit, though she didn’t write it.

(Via Fark.)

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Lively and spirited

This is weird enough:

Many social media junkies may have already heard of Amethyst Realm, a spiritual counselor from the U.K. who claims that, after having sex with over 20 ghosts, she is now engaged to a spirit. She told The Sun that she felt the other-worldly presence enter her life while she was on a trip to Australia, and things soon got serious (she and the spirit are set to “marry” next summer).

At which point, Ryan Reynolds of the Mutual Trolling Society — the other member is wife Blake Lively — decided to score a point:

The official HelloGiggles explanation:

LOL. (Realm does kind of look like Lively, doesn’t she?)

I think I lean a little closer to the viewpoint of Popeye the Sailor: “Ghosks is the bunk.”

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Dreaming with a broken heart

Does John Mayer have sex while his own records are playing? No, he says:

“A girl has asked me to sing some of my songs in probably the run-up to it,” he confessed, explaining, “If it’s after a show and a girl asks, ‘Sing “Your Body is a Wonderland”,’ do you want to be the kind of guy who goes, ‘No,’ or do you want to be the kind of guy that goes like, ‘We’ve got the afternoon…?’ You want to play along … I probably used my music to hook up a few times, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less from the heart.”

That said, perhaps it’s that Mayer has outgrown his bedhoppers-anonymous reputation: “The older I get, the less desirous I am about unsheathing new body parts.”

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Some of them want to use you

Does it seem to you that there’s an awful lot of sexual abuse going on these days?

When I was in medical school, we were assured most of these accusations were not true, merely psychological projections (and indeed, some were, and some were also induced false memories, and some conveniently remembered stuff to get money).

But in the late 1960s we were also told by psychiatrists teaching us that all mental illness was due to sexual frustration (Freud’s idea) so that girls who said “no” but were forced into sex was okay, because she really wanted it or needed to lose her “inhibitions.” But what was worse was that back then, some people were pushing the idea that it might be a good thing if a child was initiated into sex by a “loving” adult.

I saw 3 or 4 cases of sexual abuse each month when I was in private practice, or heard about it from my adult women patients (because the majority of my patients were women, but also because I evaluated most of the abuse of young girls, being the only lady doc in town).

The abuse was usually by a family member or a friend of the family … and often they coped but used alcohol, drugs and were promiscuous…

I’m starting to think that “inhibitions” are actually good for you, that all else being equal. the ability to not act on an impulse has some survival value. If there’s any vowel-ridden acronym more annoying than YOLO (you only live once), it’s FOMO (fear of missing out).

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Buzzwords lacking buzz

This, reports Robert Stacy McCain, comes from page 209 of Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler, PhD, and since he actually paid for a copy of the book, I’ll take his word for it:

I use the term heterosexual matrix throughout the text to designate that grid of cultural intelligibility through which bodies, genders, and desires are naturalized. I am drawing from Monique Wittig’s notion of the “heterosexual contract” and, to a lesser extent, on Adrienne Rich’s notion of “compulsory heterosexuality” to characterize a hegemonic discursive/epistemic model of gender intelligibility that assumes that for bodies to cohere and make sense there must be a stable sex expressed through a stable gender (masculine expresses male, feminine expresses female) that is oppositionally and hierarchically defined through the compulsory practice of heterosexuality.

Says McCain:

Look, I don’t care how high your SAT score was, there’s no way you can understand that paragraph without reading it at least twice, and how many college sophomores are going to be as diligent as I was, in that I ordered copies of Monique Wittig’s and Adrienne Rich’s books in an effort to make sure I understood the sources cited by Professor Butler?

As a matter of policy, I will not read anything more than once containing any declension of “hegemony.”

Still, were this paragraph easily comprehensible, it would not be doing its job, which is to make the disciples nod knowingly and the rubes shake their heads.

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This couple is doomed

This does not strike me as one of the things you laugh about twenty years later:

The Pepperhead report on this particular bit of Hot Stuff:

This is the super hot pepper that started it all. All the way from Assam, India it is the first hot pepper to break the 1 million Scoville mark. Now a pepper has to reach 1 million SHU to even get on the top 10 hottest list. Some still think the Ghost Pepper is still the world’s hottest, but it is far from it. It held the World’s Hottest Pepper title for 4 years from 2007-2011 when the Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’ surpassed it in heat.

For comparison purposes (Scoville heat units):

Jalapeño:  3,500 to 8,000

Ghost Pepper:  1,041,427

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So long as you feel good

I mean, if that’s the best you can do for a metric:

A new University of Guelph study has revealed that people in open relationships are as happy as their coupled-up counterparts.

“We found people in consensual, non-monogamous relationships experience the same levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction as those in monogamous relationships,” said Jessica Wood, a PhD student in applied social psychology and lead author of the study. “This debunks societal views of monogamy as being the ideal relationship structure.”

Except for the minor detail that it does no such thing:

It doesn’t debunk it because the “ideal relationship structure” is not at all a mere function of individual satisfaction. It’s unreal to have to remind ostensible adults of this fact. Satisfaction is, of course, very nice. But society also has to function, children have to be raised, and productive work has to be accomplished in a generally stable environment. Disregarding these elements entirely in favor of a puerile “satisfaction” index is precisely what one would expect from a Jessica Wood at Guelph University.

At the very least, these questions need to be answered:

If communal sex pods, or warlord harems, or string polyamory were actual competitors for the ideal relationship structure, then Jessica Wood would be obliged to explain how each performs in serious social metrics. What is the quantity and quality of offspring produced? What is the state of their physical and emotional health? Who precisely has a vested interest in that health when paternity is of no concern? How is the inevitable jealousy to be managed on a public scale? What to do with the masses of unmated males when 80% of the women seek 20% of the men? Who is morally obligated to support whom in the absence of a nuclear family structure? Do commitments have a biological or relationship basis? Are you the father if you are presently having sex with the mother, or if an indifferent coupling produced a pregnancy? What does being a father mean if fathers are fungible? Would at-home young mothers need to accrue sex credits from former partners in order to support their period of vulnerable child-rearing? How much more time will men spend in a societally wasteful state of sexual competition in this model compared to the effort they would have expended on work and child rearing in a monogamous one?

“Yes, but … more variety!”

“Fifty-seven channels,” says Mr Springsteen, “and nothin’ on.”

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Doing the split

Garfunkel and Oates once did a song called “29/31”, and it was every bit as scary as it was funny.

Now comes “50/50,” billed as “a feminist love song,” and it’s got some discomfort of its own:

I think we need to encourage Kate and Riki to do more songs with numbers.

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I feel for you, friend

Though I can never hope to approach your uniqueness:

The 52-hertz whale is an individual whale of unidentified species, which calls at the very unusual frequency of 52 Hz. This pitch is a much higher frequency than that of the other whale species with migration patterns most closely resembling this whale’s — the blue whale (10–39 Hz) or fin whale (20 Hz). It has been detected regularly in many locations since the late 1980s and appears to be the only individual emitting a whale call at this frequency. It has been described as the “world’s loneliest whale.”

We do anthropomorphize a bit, don’t we? And actually, Mister Fifty-Two has most recently been calling at closer to 47 Hz, suggesting he’s matured, or at least grown a bit.

Could this whale be a hybrid of two (or more) species? It’s possible, say the experts, though they have no recordings of known hybrids.

And maybe this is all perfectly explainable, once we have all the facts. For now, I’ll put on Judy Collins’ “Farewell to Tarwathie,” in which she’s accompanied by a different species of whale — the humpback — and ponder the mysteries of the sea and of those creatures who call it home.

(Via Brandon Melendez.)

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She met a guy

This video, as of this past week, ranks #7 on the list of most-disliked YouTube videos of all time:

Well, I like it. (I am also deeply fond of #6.)

In “How It Is,” Bibi (Bianca Heinicke) runs down a list of things that make her feel, well, run down. But things pick up at the end: “I met a guy, he knows my name.”

And wouldn’t you know it, she did exactly that:

I’m happy for her. This is the guy:

He’s definitely got balls.

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The price of loneliness

The pure, unadulterated blankness of my dance card, as my therapist is fond of pointing out, surely costs me something. But trying to do something about it has a price tag of its own:

Over a 10 year span, there have been increases in the cost for singles to mingle, with the rise of inflation for in-person dates (i.e. movie tickets, meals, etc) and the popularity of paid relationship models, like or eHarmony. The average cost of dating has gone up about 52 percent — and that’s before you pay to swipe.

Truth be told, when I saw that phrase “paid relationship models,” I thought of, um, something else.

eHarmony and Match cost approximately $39.95 per month for a 6-month contract, not including coupons. In 2008, it cost approximately $50 to take someone on a date, and in 2018 it’s about $101 — which is a 52 percent increase, not even taking into account monthly membership fees or higher costs of living.

The average dater spends $239 a year just to be on dating sites, many using promotions and coupons to subscribe. That means if you’re going out on 4 dates a month, you’re looking at over $5,000 a year to search for love. Then, once you’ve found the person you want to promise forever to (or not), you’re looking at a total price tag of $72,000 from “hello” to “I Do.”

I am forced to conclude that the hermit, pain in the heart notwithstanding, comes out better on this deal.

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Choose your own stereotype

Says this abstract: “Inbred males should have lower reproductive success than outbred males among other things because of inbreeding depression in attractiveness to females and a reduced lifespan.”

How about a kiss for your cousin Dupree? Not gonna happen, she says, but how can you test for this?

We used an inventive experimental set-up that enabled us to assess male behaviour in relation to an apparent mating opportunity while excluding potential confounding effects of female preference. Age-, weight-, and size-matched inbred and outbred male canaries (Serinus canaria) were presented with a female that only one male at a time could access visually via a ‘peephole’ and thus when both males were equally interested in seizing the apparent mating opportunity this would result in contest. We find that inbred males spent more than twice as much time ‘peeping’ at the female than outbred males, suggesting that inbreeding indeed causes different behavioural responses to an apparent mating opportunity. Our study is among the first to highlight that inbreeding affects male mating behaviour, and therewith potentially male-male competition, which should be taken into account in order to understand the full range of inbreeding effects on fitness.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199182.

(Via Neuroskeptic.)

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Following up, only not

Says the BBC:

Last week we published the story of “Joseph”, a 60-year-old man who wrote about his regret at missing out on sexual experiences until the age of 37. Many readers wrote to say that his story struck a chord with them — echoing his point that society aggravates the problem by unfairly portraying lonely people as strange or inadequate. Here is a selection of their emails.

Most of the published responses were from men, and it’s no surprise — to me, anyway — that none of these guys seem to have any of the bitterness suffused with anger that characterizes the so-called “incel” movement; they are not at all happy with their lot, but they appear disinclined to blame it on all those Stacys out there chasing Chad. And most notably, none of them claim that big-S Society, or some subset thereof, is actively conspiring to deprive them of their rights to an occasional ejaculation. Then again, this is the BBC, not 4chan or reddit.

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